Astle Slams Pantelides Order to Silence Trump Dissent

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Democratic Mayoral candidate John Astle
Democratic Mayoral candidate John Astle

In a statement today, Democratic Mayoral candidate John Astle was sharply critical of a recent email Republican Mayor Mike Pantelides dictated to city department heads that forbids them from offering opinions or comments on social media about President Trump and other issues Pantelides considers “national” in nature.

According to published reports, Pantelides’s email was in response to a Facebook post Annapolis Police Chief Scott Baker posted to city residents after Trump appeared to encourage police officers to physically harm suspects in a July 28 speech to law enforcement officers.

Chief Baker took issue with Trump’s comments, writing: “Whether he was serious or joking, his comments do not help build trust between citizens and police. The Annapolis Police Department has policies and procedures in place regarding how we interact with those we arrest. Violations of these policies are considered serious and will be thoroughly investigated.”

Astle, a former police officer himself, issued the following statement in response to Pantelides email order:

“For Pantelides to censure the Police Chief for doing the right thing and saying what the Mayor himself should have said is taking his support for Donald Trump too far.  Further, the Mayor’s use of email to communicate his personal thoughts to his department heads, rather than discussing the issue face to face, is indicative of the poor relationships he continues to foster due to his own lack of leadership experience.  I congratulate Chief Baker for standing up to Trump’s ridiculous and dangerous comments, especially when the Mayor wouldn’t. It is critical that there be mutual respect and trust between our police officers and community members. Shame on Pantelides for putting his loyalty to Donald Trump ahead of the needs of our community. We can’t sit back and allow anyone to encourage violence without speaking up.

As Mayor, I’ll always put our community first and I’ll stand up to Donald Trump when he says and does things that hurt Annapolis, just like I did when he pulled us out of the Paris Climate Accord. My loyalty will always be to the people of this community,” Astle added.

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