‘I’m not a racist’: Two Hill Country politicians take heat for controversial comments

Two Hill Country politicians are under fire for controversial comments they made Tuesday as racial tensions throughout the country run high.

The mayor of Woodcreek, a small town about 66 miles northeast of San Antonio, deleted a Facebook post in which she wrote Black Lives Matter was “a Socialist attempt to take over our lives, using guilt and shame.”

In Kerr County, a county commissioner said on his radio show that George Floyd, who died while in police custody, did not deserve the funeral he received, calling him “basically a thug.”

Woodcreek mayor

A Hill Country mayor faced criticism for a series of Facebook posts about Black Lives Matter, including one in which she labeled the movement “a threat to our lives.”

Gloria Whitehead, mayor of Woodcreek, penned the since-deleted posts on Tuesday, according to The Wimberley View.

Whitehead repeatedly said “I’m not a racist” in several follow-ups to her original post, which called Black Lives Matter “a Socialist attempt to take over our lives, using guilt and shame.”

After noting that a relative’s salon in Delaware had recently been damaged, Whitehead linked Black Lives Matter to communist groups and the Weather Underground.

The View reported that the mayor’s posts spurred hundreds of comments, many calling Whitehead racist and requesting her resignation.

City officials were not immediately available for comment Wednesday.

The Woodcreek city council adopted a social media policy in 2019 that advises the mayor and councilmembers to “keep postings factual and accurate” and “consider content carefully, because postings are widely accessible.”

Before deleting the posts, Whitehead defended her statements.

“I don’t support the BLM Group…for my personal reasons and research over many years and just like that I’m a Racist,” the mayor wrote. “…and have unmercifully been vilified. Let me be clear, I do not support, BLM, the Movement. Never have I ever said that Black Lives do not matter.

“Do not misquote me nor change the dialogue. To the contrary..All Lives Matter. AND..I AM NOT A Racist..You can call me a Racist all day long and I’ll still not bow to the BLM idealogy.”

State Representative Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood, responded to Whitehead on Facebook, writing, “As a fellow elected official, I am disappointed to see this.”

“Your words, intentionally or not, do harm to our black community members,” Zwiener said. “Please take the time to understand why. If you want to learn more about why this is harmful, I am happy to sit down and help you through this work. Black lives matter, full stop, and every single person in power should be stepping up to make sure they’re treated as such.”

Kerr County Commissioner

A Kerr County Commissioner said George Floyd, who died in police custody and sparked a global push for police reform and social justice, didn’t deserve any of the “accolades” he received during a memorial service attended by thousands Tuesday in Houston.

Along with being an elected Republican official of Kerr County, about an hour outside of San Antonio, Pct. 1 Commissioner Harley Belew also hosts a radio segment on the Hill Country Patriot. The day before Floyd was buried, he shared his opinions on his death and the memorials planned in Houston.

Audio from the radio show was recorded by Kerrville United, a volunteer-run website geared toward news in the area.

Belew opened the show by calling Floyd “basically a thug.” He opposed the Floyd’s funeral because he said others were “denied” having services for their loved ones due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Someone that dies with a knee on their neck has probably done something wrong to get the cops called there and that’s what people are not talking about,” Belew continues. “I was waiting to see how this was going to play out. I figured it was going to be one of these Michael Brown deals, and, of course, it has been.”

Brown, 18, was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in 2014. The shooting also prompted protests in the St. Louis area for a week after the shooting and then again when Wilson was not indicted.

Belew went on to call Floyd a “useful tool” in pushing a “message.”

“George Floyd does not deserve the funeral he’s getting, he does not deserve the accolades,” he added.

The commissioner could not immediately be reached for comment. On his personal Facebook page, he penned a public post the same day of the radio segment saying he believes the “human race” is the only race and he has “no idea why we’re not all the same color.”

Discussion within the county, which encompasses Kerville, is mixed with support for Belew and disdain. Some suggested running him “out of town” for the “stunt.” Another resident called on County Judge Rob Kelly to address Belew’s behavior.

“What he (Belew) said is what he said, I didn’t say it,” Kelly said when reached by phone, then declined to comment further.

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