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Mayor of Coastal Oregon City Resigns Following Controversial Facebook Group Posts by Police

by Joshua Brown
5 comments
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The mayor of a coastal city in Oregon has issued an apology and resigned from his position after engaging in offensive behavior within a private Facebook group dedicated to current and retired police officers.

According to a report by Oregon Public Broadcasting, Dean Sawyer, the mayor of Newport, expressed remorse and stepped down on Monday morning. This decision came three days after the media outlet exposed his history of sharing memes and posts that demeaned women, immigrants, non-English speakers, and the LGBTQ+ community since 2016. The Facebook group, consisting of approximately 39,000 members, witnessed Sawyer’s recent posts specifically targeting the transgender community, as stated by OPB.

In response to these revelations, a local LGBTQ+ pride group organized a demonstration at City Hall over the weekend, with over 100 participants demanding Sawyer’s resignation. At the scheduled special meeting on Monday, five out of six of Sawyer’s colleagues on the Newport City Council attended the protest, indicating their readiness to call for his resignation. The police chief of the city, located on the central coast and comprising around 10,000 residents, along with the Lincoln County sheriff, also condemned Sawyer’s posts.

In the face of mounting pressure, Sawyer ultimately acknowledged his wrongdoing and the consequences it had on the community. In an interview with OPB on Friday, he acknowledged that the private Facebook group, known as LEO Only, was not intended for public consumption. Furthermore, he later told The Oregonian/OregonLive that his online behavior had become too divisive for him to continue as mayor.

“I now understand that my actions and words have caused harm to those I deeply care about,” Sawyer expressed. “I fully accept responsibility for this. To all the members of this community and anyone affected by my actions, whether directly or indirectly, I am genuinely sorry.”

Sawyer went on to describe his posts as “repugnant and distasteful” and admitted that he should not have engaged in such behavior, as reported by The Oregonian/OregonLive.

While OPB confirmed reviewing the offensive content, the source did not disclose how it gained access to the Facebook group. Notably, the group mandates proof of active or retired law enforcement identification to join.

Sawyer had served as a police officer in Newport for three decades prior to his election as mayor in 2018.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about resignation

Why did the mayor of the coastal Oregon city resign?

The mayor of the coastal Oregon city resigned due to offensive content he posted in a private Facebook group for current and retired police officers. His posts, which denigrated women, immigrants, non-English speakers, and the LGBTQ+ community, came to light through a media outlet’s report.

What was the public reaction to the mayor’s offensive Facebook posts?

Following the revelation of the mayor’s offensive Facebook posts, there was a public outcry. A local LGBTQ+ pride group organized a demonstration at City Hall, with over 100 participants demanding the mayor’s resignation. Five out of six colleagues on the Newport City Council attended the protest and were prepared to request his resignation at a special meeting. The police chief of the city and the Lincoln County sheriff also condemned the mayor’s posts.

Did the mayor apologize for his actions?

Yes, the mayor issued an apology for his actions. He acknowledged that his posts were hurtful and expressed remorse for the harm caused to the community. He took full responsibility for his words and actions, both directly and indirectly affecting those he loves and cares about. The mayor acknowledged that his online behavior had become too polarizing and divisive, leading to his decision to resign.

How did the mayor’s background contribute to the situation?

Prior to being elected mayor in 2018, the mayor served as a police officer in Newport for three decades. However, his involvement in offensive behavior within the private Facebook group compromised his position and public perception. The mayor’s resignation stemmed from the realization that his actions contradicted the responsibilities and expectations associated with his role as a public servant.

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5 comments

NewsJunkie23 July 11, 2023 - 12:39 am

This story underscores the influence of social media in public life. Politicians must be mindful of their online presence and the impact their words can have on their constituents. The mayor’s resignation shows that the public will not tolerate bigotry or discrimination.

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LocalResident99 July 11, 2023 - 2:34 am

As a member of the community, I feel relieved that the mayor took responsibility for his actions and resigned. It’s crucial to foster a respectful and inclusive environment for everyone. Let’s hope this incident leads to positive changes and promotes unity in our city.

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BeachLover July 11, 2023 - 7:44 am

It’s disheartening to see such hateful posts from someone in a position of power. This incident highlights the need for greater sensitivity and inclusivity in our society. Kudos to the LGBTQ+ pride group for organizing a peaceful demonstration to demand change.

Reply
Bookworm4Life July 11, 2023 - 4:50 pm

The mayor’s actions were unacceptable and offensive. It’s important to hold public officials accountable for their behavior, especially when it perpetuates discrimination and hurts marginalized communities. Resignation was the right course of action.

Reply
User123 July 11, 2023 - 7:10 pm

omg i cant believe the mayor resigned over some fb posts!! ppl rly need 2 relax, it’s just words! freedom of speech, u kno? they’re makin a big deal out of nothing smh

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