City Council

Council Critic Arrested Over Racially Charged Threat on Public Comment Card

The card also includes a drawing of a burning cross and a drawing of a tree with a person hanging from a noose.

A frequent City Hall critic was free on bail Wednesday following his arrest for allegedly submitting a public-comment card at a committee hearing that included images of a burning cross and what appears to be a Ku Klux Klan figure holding a noose and a sign with a racial epithet directed at Council President Herb Wesson.

Los Angeles police confirmed that Wayne Spindler, 46, was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats. According to jail booking records, Spindler was arrested last Friday and his bail was set at $75,000. He was released about 10 p.m. that night.

Spindler could not be reached for comment.

He allegedly submitted a public-comment card at a May 11 meeting of the council's Rules, Elections, Intergovernmental Relations and Neighborhood Committee. The card was presented at a hearing on LA Department of Water and Power reform, Wesson said.

"To be honest with you, I never anticipated that I could become a victim myself of racial hatred, bigotry, hate speech and terroist threats," Wesson said at a Thursday news conference.

The card, which is still available for viewing in a public records portion of the City Clerk's Office website, indicates it was submitted by "Wayne from ENCINO." The card also includes a drawing of a burning cross and a drawing of a tree with a person hanging from a noose.

In the middle of the card, there is a drawing of what appears to be a triangular-shaped person in a KKK hood carrying a noose and a sign that says "Herb = (N-word)."

Wesson, who is black, told the L.A. Sentinel newspaper he has become increasingly alarmed by Spindler's actions and comments at council meetings. The comments have become "increasingly worse," Wesson said.

"As a young man, I sat at the kitchen table of my grandmother's, and I heard them tell the stories of liquored up klansmen running through the South, terrorizing black people," Wesson said. "About crosses actually being burned on the lawns of their friends. About black men being beaten and black women being raped and being afraid to report this to the police.

"It is not ok to do that to me. It is not ok to do that to us in the year 2016. And, when I'm talking about us, I'm talking about all of us -- white, yellow, black and brown."

City Councilman Mitchell Englander said he hopes a lesson is learned.

"This crosses that line. It actually scares not just quite frankly elected officials or others of their staff, but general members of the public. I've heard from them directly that they're concerned and in fear when he shows up," Englander said.

Wesson is scheduled to hold a news conference at City Hall Thursday to discuss the issue of recent hate speech at City Council meetings.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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