Eula Clarke, the mayor of Stuart, Florida felt like it was okay to run her mouth and refer to the brave men and women in blue in her city as “pigs.” Not thinking that this would ever backfire on her since she could always claim “racism,” she was in for a rude awakening when she woke up today and realized she was in need of some serious help.
Last month, Clarke walked into Taylor’s Grocery, where she saw Officer Ed Fitzgerald speaking to the store clerk. Right off the cuff, she remarked, “I didn’t know we were serving pig tonight,” and Fitzgerald left the store after the insult, taking the high road and not saying a word. The seven-year veteran of the police force was sent to Stuart to build better relationships with the residents there, but despite that, he found out that this woman with a leadership position in the community didn’t appreciate his efforts. Now, her job is now in jeopardy after trying to backtrack and asking for forgiveness and a little help from the commission who is about to take action.
Clarke almost immediately came under fire for her comments, with the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association criticizing her statement to Officer Fitzgerald. Local television station WPTV tried to interview her about the incident, but Clarke refused to take any responsibility — instead, she lied in a desperate attempt to save her job.
“So what happened on January the 11 involving a Stuart police officer?,” the reporter asked. “Andrew, I told you I want to make a short statement to the public,” she responded. So the reporter tried again, asking her, “Did you make a reference to a pig in reference to a Stuart police officer?”
“Again, I’m telling you that I support law enforcement,” she replied. “It happened. That was something that happened. It’s done with. I want to move on. I want the officers to work for our community. I want them to believe in what I do as mayor. To believe in what they do for their jobs. I just want to make sure that they know I have their backs.”
Clarke then claimed that she met with Officer Fitzgerald to offer an apology, but not many believe in her sincerity, since she keeps changing her story about what happened, despite witnesses to her inappropriate remark. She tried to claim that she was literally referring to pork, not to police officers.
“The words have been said. I use that word when referring to certain meat products. It’s one of those things,” she said at a commission meeting on Monday, to the anger of the audience, who began to heckle her. “I hear you, I am telling you. I’m sorry. That’s not the instance that that was used.”
City Commissioner Troy McDonald was quick to call her out on the lie, and her lack of sincerity. “At the same time you were apologizing, you started to try to back off and say, ‘Well I was talking about pork products’ or ‘meat products,’ which makes me question your sincerity at this point. That’s troubling.”
Many members of the commission are now calling for her resignation, including Vice Mayor Tom Campenni, Commissioners Kelli Glass Leighton, Jeffrey Krauskopf, and McDonald. Her comments could also constitute employee harassment, which City Attorney Mike Mortell says could prompt an internal investigation. It’s expected that on Wednesday, they will vote to remove her as mayor, but even then, she can’t be removed as a commissioner unless Governor Rick Scott approves it, or 10% of the city’s voters sign to take her out of office.