Though Westminster is thousands of miles away from Washington D.C., a contentious Jan. 11 city council meeting showed how the Jan. 6 insurrection affected local communities. Emotions ran high after …
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Though Westminster is thousands of miles away from Washington D.C., a contentious Jan. 11 city council meeting showed how the Jan. 6 insurrection affected local communities.
Emotions ran high after City Clerk Michelle Parker replayed a voicemail from a resident that she prefaced contained profanity. That led to a council discussion of how rioters laid siege on the U.S. Capitol.
“After the events that happened in Washington D.C. yesterday, I hope that it is crystal clear to all of you the danger, the imminent danger that the domestic terrorist David DeMott who sits on this city council poses to this city,” Charles Najjar's voicemail played.
Najjar based his statements on a photo in which Councilman David DeMott is wearing a hat displaying the logo of the Three Percenters, which the Southern Poverty Law Center says is part of the “anti-government militia movement.” In November 2019, DeMott posted the photo of him wearing the hat on his public Facebook page. Multiple news outlets have reported the Three Percenters flag being at pro-Trump protests in D.C. last week.
Najjar's voicemail continued, referring to DeMott as a “seditionist,” “jerk” and said the councilman is, “a danger to the community.” Najjar also called out other councilors for allowing DeMott to remain on the council.
Later in the meeting, DeMott directly responded to Najjar.
“I've done a lot more research about that group since I had that hat,” DeMott said.
Since that photo was taken, he has learned more about the group and said he doesn't wear the hat anymore. The photo of him remains on his Facebook page as of noon, Jan. 12. He also pushed back against accusations that he is racist.
DeMott said he supports President Trump and calls to “investigate” the 2020 election but doesn't support last week's violence.
“One thing I want to avoid is typecasting everybody who was in D.C. last week in that same realm. There were a large amount of people who went there to peacefully protest,” DeMott said during the meeting.
Comments from other councilors were less heated but equally direct.
“My blood ran cold at the images of a man carrying a Confederate battle flag within the building, proudly displaying an emblem inside the Capitol by those who sought to undermine the democratic process,” said Mayor Pro Tem Anita Seitz, “This reinforced mine and many others suspicions that this group of rioters, or more accurately domestic terrorists, are only committed to an American democracy that prioritizes white supremacy.”
Councilwoman Kathryn Skulley struck a similar tone, urging her colleagues to “...take a stand against the actions of these individuals who attacked our nation and specifically condemn racism, bigotry, prejudice and white supremacy.”
That led to a discussion about drafting an official council statement regarding the Jan. 6 insurrection that could be publicly released. Skulley wanted the statement to include an explicit welcoming of President-elect Joe Biden's administration, as a direct rebuke to baseless claims of voter fraud in the recent General Election.
It was clear that not everyone agreed with that particular suggestion.
“What transpired (on Jan. 6) from a minority of people cannot and should not be an overall blanket of thought to those who were peacefully assembling and to have their voices heard,” Councilor Lindsey Smith said.
Ultimately, all seven councilors agreed to draft an official statement that the city published Jan. 13. “We are sickened by these events and mourn the loss of life,” it read, “While acknowledging those individuals exercising their right to peacefully protest, we call for the accountability of those involved in this atrocity.”
The statement included much of which councilors wanted it to, including a denunciation of white supremacist symbols at the insurrection. It didn’t include an explicit welcoming of President-elect Biden’s administration, but said, “We applaud the tenacity of our Congress, who reconvened to confirm the electoral win of our next president.”
In a similar spirit, Thornton City Council released its own official statement. “We vigorously support the rule of law and the individuals involved in the insurrection should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible,” it read, “This kind of violence has never and will never lead to lasting solutions. The Thornton City Council is committed to doing what we can to protect our democracy and respect our government institutions.”
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