A Boise city council member, Lisa Sanchez, came under fire recently for comments she made on her public Facebook page.
She accused a young man, Michael Wallace, who negligently fired his firearm into the ground at a protest in Boise, as doing it on purpose to see what he could get away with. She accused him of benefiting from being white and had it been a black or brown person the results of the arrest would have been different.
In her closing statement, Sanchez said she chose not to have kids because she didn’t want white people to abuse and kill them.
Recently, Sanches spoke with KTVB where she defended her post on Facebook.
Sanchez said people are more concerned with her statement than they are with Wallace who allegedly fired his weapon in negligence.
Here is part of Sanchez’s statement to KTVB:
“It’s not an injustice this young man did what he did, putting people’s lives in danger, and his life in danger, but that nobody said anything,” Sanchez said. “Everybody dismissed it, ‘oh, it was an accident.’ You don’t accidentally leave your home with a ginormous gun with ammunition chambered with the safety off and go downtown threatening people. I don’t feel that this gentleman was exercising his first and second amendment rights. What I believe he was doing is exercising his rights as a white man in our culture where you’re always given the benefit of the doubt. That’s not what people of color experience in our community.”
To date, no evidence has been presented to the public that the firearm was discharged on purpose in order for Michael Wallace to prove he could do so because of his skin color.
Additionally, no evidence has been presented that Wallace was intentionally threatening anyone.
We do know that Wallace was arrested and has been charged according to Boise’s code for the negligent discharge of a firearm in city limits.
KTVB also asked Sanchez about her comments on not having children for fear of white people killing and abusing them.
Here is how Sanchez responded:
“I stand by that,” Sanchez said. “Right now, we’re all paying attention to these instances of police brutality, where black people have been killed seemingly for no good reason. Well, the reality is that people of color living in this country, we are not always killed like that. We are killed slowly, systematically, and the result is the same.”
It is unclear if Sanchez has specific concerns about Idaho. Her comments appear to be more directed at the United States as a whole.
One of the individuals not pleased with Council member Sanchez’s comments is Keith Graves, a retired police officer living in Boise.
Graves responded to Sanchez’s original statement with a video online.
Graves group, 3 to 1 Retired Police Officers and Firefighters in Idaho, has over 250 members.
In the video, Graves denounces the accusations that Boise Police would have treated a person of color any differently. He says there is no history that the Boise Police Department has treated people of color differently who are exercising their 1st or 2nd Amendment rights.
Graves says that Sanchez should be thanking the Boise Police Department for their efforts during the George Floyd protests in Boise and not belittling them.
In closing, Graves says that Sanchez should immediately resign her position as a city council member in Boise.
Graves calls her comments hyperbole and unhinged.
Sanchez doesn’t deny that her statement was hyperbolic and told KTVB:
“I feel the fact that so much attention has been brought to it is not just because it was hyperbolic, I think it’s because it’s true, and it’s hard to hear the truth,” Sanchez said. “It’s unfortunate that what I said is construed as an attack against our police department. That wasn’t my intention at all because the department reflects our community.”
In Sanchez’s original post she said that Wallace’s arrest in Boise would have been different if he wasn’t white.
She said in part:
“To the parents (if they exist) of the white man, Michael D. Wallace, I want to congratulate you on successfully having your son arrested, safely taken into custody by the Boise Police Department, and having him successfully bonded out of jail and home safe (not so sure about sound). You and your son won the race lottery!”
We reached out to Graves and asked him about her comment and he told Idaho Dispatch,
“She is inferring that the BPD would treat people differently based upon their color. There is no historical evidence that this would be true. To the contrary, BPD officers did a great job ensuring everyone got to exercise their constitutional right and they should be commended for their professionalism. From a city councilwoman, it would have been better to make a statement about what a great job the police and Boise did in keeping the peace.”
Local radio host Nate Shelman (670 KBOI) blasted Sanchez on his radio show after her initial comments.
Recently, he posted a message on Facebook in response to her KTVB interview. He said,
So, a city councilwoman can speak, while officers in the Boise Police Department have their jobs threatened if they share their thoughts. Interesting. Keep an eye on the battle over city council districting.
Shelman is referring to a law passed this year which will divide cities of over 100,000 people into “districts” for elections.
Usually, a city council is elected by everyone in the city.
Under a new law, bigger cities are divided up so that one person will represent a certain portion of the city. The idea behind the law is to ensure that someone from each part of the city is represented on the council and that no one area of the city ends up with all of the council members.
Shelman may be inferring that Sanchez could lose her position on the city council in the near future due to this new law.
Did Council member Sanchez go too far in her comments? Were her comments “racist” as some have claimed or was she just trying to point out racial disparity in the United States as her supporters are claiming? Did Mr. Graves misunderstand what Sanchez was saying about the Boise Police Department or did she imply that the Boise Police would have treated a person of color differently?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Tags: Boise City Council, Boise Police, Gun, Idaho, Keith Graves, Lisa Sanchez, Michael Wallace