A racist Facebook post cast a shadow over the Recreation Against Racism event held Sunday at the HUB Sports Center in Spokane Valley.
The Facebook invitation for the HUB event included a photo of a racial slur that was spray-painted on the The Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center in November.
The photo, posted by Scott Maclay on the Rattlesnakes Motorcycle Club page, copied the invitation and added this commentary, which has been edited to erase offensive language:
“Is it possible, that the (N-word) effigy painted on the side of the MLK Building on the lower South Hill was possible placed their (sic) by … (N-word)? And, not any other organized white supremacy group supporting this agenda? I mean… is their (sic) even a white sepremacy (sic) group in Spokane?”
NAACP President Phil Tyler was outraged over the post and spoke at the Spokane Valley City Council meeting Tuesday evening. He called on the council to denounce the hate in the post and to take a stand against racism.
“Everyone is watching. Our community is watching. Our children are watching,” Tyler said.
On Monday, Spokane Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich called on elected officials in Spokane Valley to denounce Maclay’s statement, but he got no response.
Spokane Valley Mayor Rod Higgins said before the council meeting that he was at the HUB event on Sunday and that it was a great event.
“What Maclay posted doesn’t rise to a level that merits a comment,” Higgins said.
Tyler said that he has a solid relationship with Higgins, but that silence is not the answer.
“Apathy is acceptance,” Tyler said.
Maclay is orchestrating a social media campaign against Knezovich and the Sheriff’s Department using several Facebook pages.
And Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Travis Pendell filed a defamation law suit against Maclay and State Rep. Matt Shea, alleging that the two “coordinated their efforts to spread provably false, provocative and defamatory information and to malign members of the Sheriff’s Office for the sole purpose of satisfying their own personal gratification and benefit.”
That allegation stems from a podcast in which Shea said the gun used in a Spokane County triple homicide could be traced to Pendell. Knezovich called the allegation “outrageous.”
Maclay wrote on social media that he provided security for Shea at a recent 4th Legislative District Republican town hall meeting in Spokane Valley.
Knezovich was at that meeting and said he saw Maclay follow Shea to every part of the room in a manner that made it look like he was acting as security detail.
But a spokesman for Shea’s office said Tuesday afternoon that’s not correct.
“Scott Maclay has never been, nor will he ever be, a bodyguard for Matt Shea,” the spokesman said. “There is no room within the Shea campaign for people like Maclay.”
The post has been deleted from Facebook.
Executive director of the HUB Sport Center Phil Champlin said the Recreation Against Racism event on Sunday was terrific and fits the core of the center’s mission statement.
“We cherish the opportunity to bring people together for the benefit of the community,” Champlin said. “We support organizations and individuals who are seeking to bring unity to the community.”
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.