Councilman under fire for posting what some call 'racist photos' on Facebook

Published: Aug. 19, 2014 at 9:43 PM CDT
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POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - A Poplar Bluff city councilman is under fire for posting what some are calling racist photos of President Obama on his Facebook page.

The issue was brought up at Monday night's city council meeting. On Tuesday, councilman Peter Tinsley is apologizing.

Tinsley said when he posted the photos last year, he never meant to offend anyone. However, some of his constituents found them to be racist.

"To come from a city council [member], a city government official, this is highly unthought of, even in Poplar Bluff Missouri," Reverend Tommy Robison said during the meeting.

Robinson lives in Ward 5, the area Tinsley represents. He's talking about the photos, which Tinsley posted on his Facebook page. The photos depict Obama in a way some consider to be racist and offensive.

"I'm highly upset over this, along with the residents of our ward," Robinson said.

Tinsley responded on Monday night.

"I apologize from the bottom of my heart ," Tinsley said.

That was followed by an explanation.

"At one time, I was a very active republican, very opposed to Obama," Tinsley said.

That reasoning angered leaders of his own party. The chairman for the Butler County Republicans said Tinsley's posts are not representative of the party.

"It even got more intense when he proceeded to blame the republican party for him thinking like that," Eddy Justice said.

He said the photos are contrary to what republicans stand for.

"Republicans believe everyone should be judged on their qualifications, on their ability," Justice said.

On Tuesday, Tinsley is, once again, apologizing.

"I want people to know that I am very remorseful for it. It was inappropriate. I believe I got caught up in an emotional moment of sharing jokes. It seemed funny at the time but today it's very serious and it's not funny at all," Tinsley said.

Tinsley said that apology not only goes out to the people of Poplar Bluff, but also to members of the Republican Party.

"Anything that I have said, that I referred to the activity because I was a Republican, that is not true. It's not an excuse ," Tinsley said.

Some members of Ward 5 say they accept Tinsley's apology, but are asking for one more thing.

"We want to see some positive outcomes and that really validates an individual's apology. We are looking for the same thing that the church would be looking for and that is healing and restoration," Robinson said.

Tinsley and his constituents agree.

"Pray and hope that there is some positiveness that can come out of this, what was done last night," William Turner said.

"I believe we can move past this," Tinsley said.

"Tinsley took office in April 2014. He said despite this incident, he plans to uphold his responsibilities as councilman here in Poplar Bluff.

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