By Mark Price
Charlotte City Council Member LaWana Mayfield's Facebook post Monday questioning whether the 9/11 attacks were an act of terrorism has sparked a national backlash and a petition for her to resign.
Within minutes of the news getting out, Mayfield was being called "ridiculous," "a disgrace" and "unfit for public office."
Among those who responded were people who said they survived the attacks or knew people who died when the World Trade Center towers collapsed and the Pentagon was struck by a plane.
"Here's a little Freedom of Speech for you," posted Pete Panuccio of New York, who identified himself as a former New York City cop. "I am an eyewitness to this event. I was there. Anytime you feel like debating the finer points, I challenge you to refute my eyewitness testimony...Shame on you and shame on the people that elect irresponsible public officials."
"So what plane did my husband see that morning as he drove into the Pentagon parking lot?" asked Kathy Bischoff Nolan on Mayfield's Facebook page. "It really disturbs me when people say it never happened! And to have a council woman say this is even worse!"
Facebook commenter Geri Rosman says she knew people who died in the attacks and she feels Mayfield has insulted them. "I demand she resign because of the depth of her insensitivity and complete lack of humanity toward those who lived through the nightmare of 9/11. I hope others -- especially those here from NY/NJ will join me in demanding her resignation."
Mayfield ignited the controversy with a Monday Facebook post that noted she is "still waiting for someone to produce pieces of the alleged plane." She then linked to an article on the website Awarenessact.com that stated: "It's Official: European Scientific Journal Concludes 9/11 Was A Controlled Demolition."
On Tuesday night, she abridged the comments, but didn't delete them or apologize: "So ... if I delete this all the comments will also be deleted. This was NOT shared to cause controversy yet it has. Freedom of speech allows you to share your thoughts and many have done that below."
Mayfield's additional comments seemed only to worsen the backlash, with some accusing her of using freedom of speech to shield herself from legitimate criticism.
A petition launched on Change.org demanded her resignation: "By giving her imprimatur to this conspiracy theory, Mayfield has brought shame and disgrace upon herself, her district, her city, and her state. It is simply not acceptable for an elected official to use his or her platform to promote such claptrap. Mayfield needs to spare herself, the people of Charlotte, and the people of North Carolina further embarrassment by resigning. "
The Mecklenburg County Republican Party echoed that sentiment late Tuesday, but stopped short of calling for her resignation.
"This is not acceptable," the party posted on its Facebook page. "We cannot reasonably believe that Ms. Mayfield should be setting policy for this great City when she thinks and says such vitriolic things about the most tragic US event in generations. Democrats in this County should say enough is enough and do something about it!"
Lawana Mayfield has lost her pea picking mind
-- Leslie Warlick (@WarlickLeslie) April 17, 2018
Mayfield's Facebook page exploded with similar criticism overnight and through out the day Wednesday:
"Your misinformed and ignorant post just causes pain," posted Gary Parks on Mayfield's Facebook page. "You should resign as any true politician and person would not have posted this. Do you even remember that day or was it too far north for you to care. I for one will never forget."
"The evidence (and "airplane parts") are readily available," posted Pat Hogan of Carrboro, N.C. "Your willingness to revisit this issue calls into question not only your fitness for re-election, but your qualifications to hold the office in the first place."
You might want to invite LaWana Mayfield over to expound on 9-11 to make Charlotte better known as nut city
-- sam 2 (@srollinsontc) April 17, 2018
"How embarrassing that people like you are running the city," posted Erin Litaker. "I feel sure this will end your political career and hopefully it will follow you. That's the problem with free speech, you can say whatever you want, but that doesn't mean there are no repercussions. Hope you have some deeply hidden skill to fall back on."
(c)2018 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.)