White New Jersey Mayor Gives Outlandish Response When Asked To Say He's Pro-Black
Mayor Sal Bonaccorso tried to explain himself in a statement posted on the Clark Township website.
June 12, 2020 at 7:24 pm
The mayor of a township in New Jersey is under fire after making racist comments during a Black Lives Matter protest. Sal Bonaccorso, mayor of Clark Township, made the comment when people at the rally challenged him to say he is "pro-Black," according to CNN.
"I am pro-Black for all the good Black people that I know in my life," Bonaccorso said in response.
The mayor dug himself into a deeper hole as he continued to speak.
"Hey folks, listen, I can't say I'm for anybody if I don't know you," he said. "I'm for people. Good people, law-abiding, hard-working, good family, good friends, people with good intentions. If you're Black great, if you're white, great. If you're Hispanic, great."
Still, he added more comments in an attempt to save himself, but the crowd wasn't having it.
"It doesn't matter. I judge people on how you judge me," the mayor said. "If you wanna be my friend and stick your hand out, I'll shake your hand. I'll look you in the eye."
Bonaccorso tried to explain himself in a statement posted on the Clark Township website.
"My goal when I spoke was to reiterate and affirm that we want Clark Township to be a place where everyone feels welcome. Looking back on what I said and seeing some of the public reaction to it, I see that I may have fallen short of that goal and I would like to clarify my answer to a question that was posed," he said. "An attendee asked me, 'Are you pro black?' The answer is of course, and unequivocally, yes. I also truly believe that Black Lives Matter."
Hanif Denny, who organized the demonstration to honor George Floyd, said protesters challenged the mayor to speak because he seemed disengaged with "his mannerisms and his body language" while people were speaking.
"They saw him standing there and they were very displeased," Denny told CNN.
Clark Township is located near Newark, New Jersey. The township has a population of almost 16,000, and more than 90% of the residents are white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Denny said racism has been a problem with Clark for some time. The mayor was criticized for smirking while people shared their experiences with racism, but he denied that he did that.
"The Black members of the Clark Community, those who live here, those who work here, those who are visiting and even those who are just passing through are all an integral part of what makes Clark such a great place," Bonaccorso said in his statement.
Denny said organizers of the demonstration didn't originally plan for the mayor to speak during the rally.
"He was just supposed to be there to listen to the stories and then have open dialogue for future action in the town," Denny told NBC News.