A Charleston, West Virginia newspaper columnist has drawn criticism for a blog post calling Michael Brown “an animal” and trashing protesters in Ferguson, Missouri as “racists,” Talking Points Memo reported.
“That’s not the view of the paper as a whole,” Charleston Daily Mail editor and publisher Brad McElhinny said of Don Surber’s post this past Saturday. “His words were uncareful and he is aware of that. He is aware that although it was his personal blog, people realize he is a columnist and an editorial writer for the paper and it’s certainly affected our reputation.”
According to media blogger Jim Romenesko, Surber published the post at his personal blog this past Saturday.
“This summer I had an epiphany as I watched packs of racists riot in Ferguson, Missouri, in support of a gigantic thug who was higher than a kite when he attacked Ferguson Police Department Officer Darren Wilson, who unfortunately had to put this animal down,” Surber originally wrote.
Brown was shot and killed by Wilson this past August, which set off a series of protests that spread around the country. The police response at the time was criticized for escalating tensions between authorities and residents, as well as journalists covering the demonstrations.
Surber later posted an update, saying, “I made a factual error. Michael Brown was not an animal but a man. Big. Brutal. High. His death was a justifiable homicide and not a putting down.” However, the post was deleted from his site by Tuesday afternoon, though a cached version is still available online.
“My initial reaction was Michael Brown deserved to die and I was right,” Surber wrote. “His death was a justifiable homicide. I knew this just as I knew Tawana Brawley was lying, and Crystal Magnum was lying. They were never held accountable for their lies because to do so would mean the media would have to rebuke the ‘civil rights leaders,’ a euphemism for tax-exempt leeches. The last thing the Al Sharptons of American politics want is racial equality because that would put these millionaires out of business.”
Surber also argued that complaints about police militarization did not matter given the violence perpetrated against them. To bolster his case, he posted the full transcript of an Associated Press report about the shooting deaths of a California officer, 42-year-old Michael David Davis Jr., last week.
“Who the hell is going to protect my 90-year-old mother?” Surber wrote. “If Ferguson proved anything, it is that police indeed need riot gear, including grenade launchers to shoot tear gas cannisters. I want the guys who are willing to take a bullet for me to be armed. Well armed.”
McElhinny did not comment on Surber’s status in the wake of the inflammatory post. He told TPM that the Daily Mail has “been in discussions directly involving Don.”