Mayoral candidate Tami Sawyer responds to tweets about police, ‘white babies’

New concern over old tweets

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There’s growing concern from the Memphis Police Association and one Memphis woman over told tweets posted by Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer. Sawyer is a candidate for Memphis mayor, and she’s responding to the criticism over the posts.

“Here in Memphis, we’ve lost quite a few police officers in the line of duty. I’ve had friends who were shot in the line of duty, and it really touched my heart to see a mayor candidate with those type of comments toward police. And I think it’s really disrespectful,” said Natreia Wren.

Wren started an online petition, which she acknowledges is largely symbolic, to get Sawyer pulled from the ballot in the Memphis mayor’s race. The online petition centers around decade-old tweets posted by Sawyer.

“I have little admiration respect for the police. Protect & serve... Meh,” Sawyer wrote in a tweet from 2010.

“Cops just got a dude on my block with a DUI. Thanking God for all the times I made it home without fail... like tonite,” she wrote in another.

“You’re getting ready to hold the highest office of a city the size of Memphis, and you have resentment toward police officers,” Wren said.

“Little white kids in scary movies freak me out. I’m glad I can’t have white babies. Cuz I might kill one thinking they’re damned,” Sawyer posted in another tweet from 2009.

Friday, the Memphis Police Association, who’s endorsed former Mayor Willie Herenton, weighed in on Facebook.

“This is from a Shelby County Commissioner that should represent everyone,” the post reads.

WMC Action News 5 asked Sawyer about the 2009 tweet Thursday evening. Her campaign released a lengthy statement.

“Consistent efforts to assassinate my character by digging up decade old social media posts are simply ridiculous and outrageous,” it said in part. “Despite baseless attacks, our work and movement will continue.”

Friday morning Sawyer posted again about the comments on social media.

We can examine my decade old tweets out of context and debate what kind of person I was or wasn’t in 2009. Or, we can...

Posted by Tami Sawyer for Mayor on Friday, September 13, 2019

“We can examine my decade old tweets out of context and debate what kind of person I was or wasn’t in 2009. Or, we can examine what’s happening in Memphis today. I’m running because this is life or death for Memphians. The stakes are too high to get caught in this foolishness,” the post reads.

Neither Sawyer’s Thursday evening statement to WMC Action News 5 nor her comments Friday included an apology.

“Definitely an apology is expected,” Wren said. “Those were things that you actually said. You’ve got to own up to it. If those are your true feelings, then own up to it.”

This isn’t the first time this month Sawyer’s tweets have been under the microscope. She apologized a few weeks ago after animal advocates complained about an old tweet in which she mocked a pet owner whose dog had just been euthanized.

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