FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Allen County Councilman Larry Brown has resigned, days after he called protesters “uneducated” and said “unfortunately they also breed” during an open meeting.
The District 4 councilman’s comments came near the end of Thursday morning’s regular County Council meeting, while council members were engaged in a discussion about recent protests in downtown Fort Wayne.
Brown questioned whether the body should make a public statement on the demonstrations against racism and police brutality. He said “we’re all being threatened with votes,” and encouraged the council to “stay unified.”
After a brief discussion, Brown continued.
“As uneducated as they are, obviously, on local government, they do vote, and unfortunately they also breed,” Brown said. “They do vote and they’re going to be an uneducated voter.”
After the meeting, calls for Brown’s resignation came. An online petition racked up thousands of signatures, and Fort Wayne City Council members joined the call.
On Monday, Brown resigned. He sent a letter to Council President Joel Benz and Allen County Republican Party Chairman Steve Shine.
Shine said it was the right move.
“I appreciate Larry resigning in an effort to stop the divisiveness his remarks have caused this community,” Shine told WANE 15. “We can now move forward and heal.”
WANE 15 called Brown for a comment, but he hung up on our reporter.
Benz issued the following statement:
“I appreciate the decision Larry Brown has made to resign from County Council. It is the correct choice and the only way forward after Thursday’s meeting. I thank Mr. Brown for his years of public service and for his decision to put the community ahead of himself. But Mr. Brown’s resignation does not solve the challenge laid bare by Thursday’s meeting. Allen County Council will continue to consider ways to make local government more inclusive, more understanding and more representative of our very diverse community. We are committed to devoting the time and resources to that crucial task. Council will also continue to consider the question of censure, even though Mr. Brown is no longer a member of Council. It is important that it become a part of the permanent record that these comments are and will always be unacceptable and not representative of the values of this community or of Allen County government.”
He later told WANE 15 in a phone call that it’s sad things have to be this way, but believes Browd made the right decision.
“He felt like his effectiveness was going to be limited as a member of council, to interact with the members of the community,” Benz said. “Also he felt a fair amount of pressure from outside with people protesting outside of his home and he felt like it was the best decision for him and his family to move on and allow someone else to come on who might have a fresh perspective and be able to contribute more to our community.”
Brown’s term was set to end at the end of 2022. The Allen County Republican Party will caucus within 30 days to fill the vacancy.
“I’m very hopeful that when the Republican county council position is filled that it is a position that is filled with someone of a diverse background, people of color, people of different gender, people who are representative of what this community is made up of,” Shine said.