A Mississippi mayor is facing fierce backlash over “disturbing” comments he made about the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody — including the remark, “If you can talk, you can breathe.”
Hal Marx, mayor of Petal, weighed in on viral video footage that shows Floyd, who was black, saying “I can’t breath” while a white Minneapolis police officer pins him to the ground by his neck.
“If you say you can’t breathe, you’re breathing. Most likely that man died of overdose or heart attack,” Marx tweeted with no evidence, according to NBC News. Marx’s Twitter account is no longer active.
In a follow-up tweet, the Republican — who was first elected mayor in 2009 and entertained a run for governor in 2019 — reportedly said he “didn’t see anything unreasonable” about the death of Floyd, 46, which led to the firing of four Minneapolis police officers.
“How could you watch this video and make such an idiotic comment,” Anthony Alford, a Toronto Blue Jays outfielder who graduated from Petal High School, fumed on Facebook.
Indianapolis Colts offensive lineman Javon Patterson also tweeted, “You know as a former resident of Petal … this is truly disturbing to see. To know that a leader of the community feels right even posting this.”
Marx later fired back, tweeting, “The tolerant progressives can’t tolerate a simple statement of fact,” according to NBC News.
The Petal Board of Aldermen held a special meeting Thursday, voting unanimously to ask for Marx’s resignation, the Clarion Ledger reported. Residents also called for his resignation, and protests are planned for the coming days.
Marx responded by calling the people asking for his resignation bullies.
“I will never surrender to the mob mentality,” he said.
In Mississippi, elected officials can only be removed from office if they’ve committed felonies, the Clarion Ledger reported.