KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A comment in a Kansas City Council meeting has one city councilwoman on the defensive and some in the Black community calling for sanctions against her.
Councilwoman Teresa Loar apologized in Thursday’s legislative meeting for what some people are calling racist behavior.
As part of Loar’s statement she said, “As a mother and a grandmother, a friend and a colleague, I have always thought as a rule, treat others like you want to be treated. In this case, I fell far short of that principle.”
Loar’s apology was the result of a clash between her and Councilwoman Melissa Robinson before the vote about whether to transfer animal control from the city to KC Pet Project.
During the exchange in question, Robinson urged city council members to vote no on the transfer to protect city jobs. To that, Loar replied, “That was a very nice speech someone wrote you, Miss Robinson. My guess it was labor somewhere.”
The comment by Loar drew criticism, along with Loar’s physical reaction of putting her hands on her hips, swinging back and forth and bobbing her head when Robinson snapped back.
“What to me triggered the fact that there was a racial undertones was what she did was racist was when she started to physically mock me as an angry black woman,” Robinson said. “That’s racist.”
That interaction prompting a virtual protest Thursday where some leaders in the Black community calling for Mayor Quinton Lucas to remove Loar from her position as the chair of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Operations Committee.
“Councilwoman Loar has exhibited a pattern of racist behavior that is not befitting of a public servant,” said Gwendolyn Grant with the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, during the virtual protest.
On Thursday, Lucas called the interaction, “Not a good model of decorum and respect,” but he’s not removing Loar from her chair. Instead, Lucas asked her to take an implicit bias training program in the next seven days.
Loar agreed, telling Robinson and city council members, “I hope you can forgive me and will support me and my efforts to do better and let the healing begin.”
Robinson said she does not accept Loar’s apology.