Local trustee admits to sharing racist social media post - WNEM TV 5

Local trustee admits to sharing racist social media post

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GLADWIN COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A local trustee is under fire after he admitted to sharing a racist post on social media.

The Gladwin County official said the post was part of an ongoing dispute with another family.

“The post originally had nothing to do with, like, negative racial stuff,” said Michelle Harrell, the owner of Stylistics Design.

Harrell is describing the moment a meme posted on Facebook triggered a full-blown racial argument that included a local township official.

Harrell said she was having a back and forth with a friend on Facebook over stereotypical behavior when things suddenly turned ugly.

She said that some of the jokes being made were directed at her boyfriend who is black.

“So at that point, I didn’t want to continue this whole thing, so that was when I blocked him and that was when this other man came along and posted this 'how to spot a criminal',” Harrell said.

That other man though was none other than her township’s Zoning Director Brian Johnson with whom she’d admitted to having disputes with in the past.

The comment Johnson made depicted a racially charged meme, directed at African Americans.

TV5 reached out to Johnson who admitted to posting the meme but said it was in response to her comments directed at his friend who posted above. He also said that he regrets doing so.

But Harrell believes that he shouldn’t get a pass.

“Like how can you feel that way, like how can you make such harsh judgments against a whole group of people for nothing,” Harrell said.

Johnson said that their dispute has gone on for quite some time, mostly over his duties with the zoning board and her business which is located across the street.

However, he said their disagreements should never have reached this point.

Harrell also believes that it’s gotten out of hand, but is hoping for some sort of action to be taken as well.

“Talk to somebody, get to know them before you make these harsh judgments because we’re all human,” Harrell said. “We all bleed the same, we all breathe the same. There’s no reason to have that sort of opinion on people just because you don’t know them.”

TV5 reached out to Billing Township Supervisor Larry Grell to get his reaction to the post and he made it very clear that he believes Brain Johnson to be a good guy and that his post was part of a dispute that has been going on for awhile.

“This was a mistake and Brian knows it was a mistake,” Grell said. “I don’t like it, the board doesn’t like it, and he doesn’t like it. I think he’s learned a very good lesson.”

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