Stamford board censures member accused of racist Facebook posts

STAMFORD, Connecticut (WABC) -- There is a racially-charged controversy in Connecticut, where an elected official is accused of sharing racist posts on social media.

The issue was discussed Tuesday night before Stamford's Board of Representatives.

Some in the crowd said it was shameful, and the board agreed.

"I believe it is our sworn duty as elected officials to confront and condemn such hate speech of this kind in any capacity, especially when it comes from one of our own," one member said.

The board was there to talk about one of their own, Democrat Mary McGarry, who didn't even show up to defend herself.

The board voted to censure her for what some saw as racist posts on a private Facebook account.

One said, "Moderate Muslims don't exist". Another paired an image from September 11 with a photo of freshman Congressman Ilhan Omar, a Muslim, and the question, "Are we that stupid?".

A third, about an undocumented immigrant, said: "Leave and take your lawnmower with you".

"I think the posts are reprehensible, I think this needed to happen," said Rep. Eric Morson, of Stamford. "I think if we didn't bring this to the floor and do it publicly that we would be complicit, that we would be condoning it. Silence is complicity."

"People who share those kinds of exclusionary views, there's no room for them on a public board," said Democratic Party chairman Josh Fideli.

McGarry would have had the chance to defend herself Tuesday night, but instead, she sent her spokesman.

The spokesman would not say whether McGarry created those posts, but she hasn't denied it.

"She basically said I have a First Amendment right and kept the posts up..never apologized, never answered publicly in any way," said Fideli.

The board voted overwhelmingly to censure McGarry, but the measure has no real impact. She continues to serve on the Board of Representatives and has not left the Democratic Party in Stamford.

According to one board member, she has deleted the posts.

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