TEMECULA (CBSLA) — Temecula Mayor James “Stew” Stewart resigned Thursday night amid backlash over an email he wrote about police killings.
The email was sent in response to a resident who on Tuesday asked Stewart how he planned to end police violence and racial policing in the community.
Stewarts emailed response, posted online, stated: “I don’t believe any good person of color has been killed by police.” He also said that he had several African American friends.
Stewart responded to the backlash Wednesday in a Facebook post that stated the message was sent using voice-to-text technology and that he did not proofread the email before sending it. He said he meant to say that that no person of color was murdered by police in Temecula or Riverside County.
Stewart posted a public apology to Facebook Thursday night announcing his immediate resignation, that stated, in part:
“City of Temecula, I hear you, I agree with you, and I am deeply sorry.
I owe everyone an apology including our citizens of all backgrounds and ethnicities, City staff, and my respected colleagues on the City Council. You have every right to be hurt and offended. My typos and off-the-cuff response to an email on a serious topic added pain at a time where our community, and our country, is suffering. I may not be the best writer and I sometimes misspeak, but I am not racist. I deeply regret this mistake and I own it, entirely. I am truly sorry.
I understand that even my sincerest apologies cannot remedy this situation. Because actions speak louder than words, I will step down as your Mayor and City Council Member effective immediately. It has been a true honor to serve this great City and its citizens. My love for Temecula and its residents is beyond expression.”
Mayor Pro Tem Maryann Edwards said in a statement that Stewart was a “hard-working and honest man.” She said the city has accepted his resignation and was “poised to close this chapter, and continue our long-term commitment to preventing racial injustice in any form.”
Edwards will take on mayoral duties for the remainder of 2020.