Politics

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Calling it sexist and racially divisive, Louisville Metro Councilwoman Attica Scott shot back Thursday at WDRB President and General Manager Bill Lamb for a televised editorial criticizing her recent visit to Ferguson, Mo.

Last Saturday, Scott traveled to the Missouri city with a group of social justice activists who were demonstrating against the police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

In an opinion piece in The Courier-Journal, Scott wrote of her fear of police interactions with her African-American son, saying residents are “tired of paying [police] to kill our children.” Last week on WFPL’s Strange Fruit podcast, Scott added: “Police officers are paid by taxpayer dollars. The budget is approved by some local government to then pay these individuals to kill our babies.”

Scott’s words drew the ire of WDRB’s Lamb, as well as the local police union. Lamb responded in an on-air editorial, telling the city lawmaker to “shut up” if that’s all she had to add.

“She insulted every police officer from coast to coast with an ill-advised statement,” Lamb said Thursday in an interview with WFPL. “The overwhelming majority of cops are good people trying to keep people safe and putting themselves in harms way to protect us. And none of them, none, are shooting babies.”

Later, Louisville Fraternal Order of Police President Dave Mutchler wrote a letter to the newspaper and said the councilwoman has an “irrational fear of police.” He wrote:

“When a police officer is accused of misconduct every man or woman with a badge becomes a villain. When one black person commits a crime suddenly being black equals being a criminal. These stereotypes are placed on us by some in the community (like Councilwoman Scott) but not, by and large, by each other. I don’t know any police officer that thinks all blacks are bad people who should be unjustifiably scrutinized, brutalized or killed by police officers. Until I read Ms. Scott’s letter I didn’t personally know any black person who thinks all police officers are bad people with a license to kill black youth at will.”

Scott said she expected many people would disagree with her position, but believes Lamb’s editorial stepped over the line.

“It’s clear that Mr. Lamb is just adding to the racial divide in our community, that his comments were extremely sexist and out of place,” she said. “We can disagree with another, we should, and he can tell me that I am wrong. I disagree with pastors, politicians, and professors all of the time, but you will not tell me to shut up.”

Scott said she has asked WDRB producers for an opportunity to respond to Lamb’s editorial, but that she hasn’t received a response.

“What’s interesting is Mr. Lamb chose to use such violent language toward me as a woman, and coming from him as a man that’s almost threatening, to tell someone to shut up,” Scott said.

Lamb said he hasn’t seen her request to respond on air, but stands by the recent Point of View segment.

“I haven’t told anyone to shut up since I was a teenager, but because she so rudely insulted police and embarrassed our community, I felt like I had to react to her words in a way that was strong also.”

 Clarification: This story has been changed to reflect the exact comments Lamb referred to.