Councilmembers and dozens of community residents challenged Bredefeld for insensitive comments

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Rev. Sharon Avril was just one of the many faith leaders of Fresno's black community who criticized Fresno City (KFSN)

"I'm glad he pulled the sheet off his face we didn't know the racist person that we are dealing with," said Sharon Avril.

The Rev. Sharon Avril was just one of the many faith leaders of Fresno's black community who criticized Fresno City Council Member Garry Bredefelds speech, some called a rant in which he made what many saw as disparaging remarks about Black Americans.

"I am saddened that you think so little of our community," said

At the September 28th council meeting, Bredefeld started out criticizing the NFL athletes for not standing during the national anthem to protest police shootings of unarmed African Americans. Bredefeld said he wanted to present the facts.

There were 6,000 blacks killed by Blacks in 2016 in contrast, there were 250 Blacks killed by police gunfire last year, and that number decreased last year.

Citing his status as a veteran, he urged respect for the flag, respect for police, and said players should encourage people to get off welfare and for fathers not to abandon their families. He also said it was wrong to remove Confederate statues, which drew a rebuke from fellow council member Oliver Baines.

"What I find hard to believe is that a veteran that wore a uniform for this country can stand up for traitors to this country. The Confederates were traitors to this country," said

When confronted by claims he caused pain to the community, Bredefeld offered this as an apology.

"For the pain that I have caused, I sincerely apologize, did not mean to do that and that was never, never, my intent," said Bredefeld.

But at a news conference following the meeting, which was attended by Mayor Lee Brand, and Police Chief Jerry Dyer, community leaders found the apology fell short.

"But to apologize for people feeling hurt is totally different for apologizing for what was said," said DJ Criner.

Mayor Brand said the challenge now was to bring the city together.

"The meeting we had today was very painful but necessary, that race relations and racism are still a major issue in this city. My job as mayor is to represent all the city, is to unite the city and I will stand to work the people here today and council member Bredefeld to make it a better city and unite the community," said Brand.

Related Topics:
politicsracismAfrican AmericansFresno
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