Letter from Norwood mayor calls on "race baiting black leaders and cowardly elected officials"

Published: Jan. 22, 2015 at 1:22 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2015 at 10:43 AM EST
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NORWOOD, OH (FOX19) - Online comments are divided after the Mayor of Norwood calls on "race baiting black leaders and cowardly elected officials" in a letter published to Facebook.

Mayor Thomas Williams' letter of support to Norwood Police was posted Wednesday to the department's Facebook page.

"With recent events across the country, I feel compelled to express my thoughts in writing as police officers across the country are under attack by race baiting black leaders and cowardly elected officials," Thomas writes in the letter, which is dated Dec. 22.

Let it be known that, God forbid, something controversial would happen, I WILL NOT ABANDON YOU," writes Williams.

Dozens of people have commented and shared Norwood Police Department's post.

"Great to let your men and women know they are backed up by you," one supporter commented.

"It will only further hurt the image of Norwood in the public eye and fuel racial tension," another commenter said.

Lt. Ron Murphy with Norwood Police says after events in New York and across the country, officers needed the encouragement.

Ken Crawford, a candidate for Mayor of Norwood, released a response regarding Williams' letter.

Black Lives Matter Cincinnati issued their own comments demanding the mayor issue a public apology no later than Monday.

"'I do what I think is right. I sleep well at night. My conscious is clear. I mean nobody any harm at all. It's just when you believe in what you believe you go for it," said Mayor Williams.

FOX19 NOW has reached out to the mayor's office for comment.

Bishop Bobby Hilton released a statement saying:

"It is appalling that Mayor Thomas Williams would stoop so low as to call black leaders "Race Baiters". It is unfortunate he has a problem with blacks and citizens of every group demanding full and fair investigations of the killings of unarmed black men. I strongly suggest that blacks stay out of Norwood. Do not shop there. When a Mayor feels the only way he can encourage and show support for his police department is by making disparaging remarks about black leaders, it is time to stay away for your own safety."

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