An outspoken council member in Montgomery County, Maryland, said he is seeing a big spike in hate-filled messages since he began a push for police reform in the county.
Montgomery County Council member Will Jawando said more than 150 messages have come in to him and his staff, and many have been concerning enough that he is sharing them with authorities.
“It reached a point where, last week, we referred the matter to the Montgomery County Police Department,” Jawando said.
In addition to receiving attention for his calls for changes in policing in the county, Jawando, who is African American, also claimed earlier this year that he was racially profiled when he was stopped by a Maryland State Trooper. Maryland State Police denied that claim.
Jawando said the messages began to really pick up after he went public about the traffic stop, and he said they continue to come in today. “There were some ‘N words’ used and a lot of four-letter curse words,” Jawando said.
He added that none of the messages have reached the level of a threat. “Hopefully, it’s just people sounding off and it’s not any real threats,” Jawando said.
Montgomery County police spokesman Tom Jordan said the department is aware of the messages received so far, and if any future messages rise to the level of a threat, they will be thoroughly investigated.
Jawando is not the only county lawmaker to be subject to hate-filled messages. Council member Evan Glass, who is the county’s first openly gay council member, reported that he received a lot of hateful communication during pride month in June.
“It’s just a reminder that we still have work to do,” Jawando said. He believes the messages are coming from a minority of people in the county, and while he said the messages are hurtful, “It doesn’t shake my resolve about what the promise of Montgomery County is and can be.”
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