Mayoral candidate responds to criticism of remark about crime

TOLEDO (WTVG) - A Toledo city councilman who's running for mayor is responding to criticism over what he said at a Toledo Tea Party meeting on Monday.

Our partners at The Blade published an article after hearing Tom Waniewski say, "if a woman has her flowerpot stolen that is as much of a crime as someone shot in the central city."

Rev. Donald L. Perryman of Center of Hope CBC said, those words are offensive, divisive and insensitive.

"Especially when you are making explicit references to the central city it says to me that some lives are not important," said Rev. Perryman.

When 13abc's reporter Brigette Burnett asked Mr. Waniewski to explain his comment he said he likes to use hyperbole to stress a point.

"I recognize the importance of every life in the city, but make no mistake if there's someone who calls for police in one part of town they deserve to get the police to respond," said the republican mayoral candidate. "Right now we have 600 police officers and barely half of them are on the street. So we need to change that and we'll be outlining that on Thursday."

Before Waniewski outlines his strategy for mayor, Democrats wasted no time responding to his comment.

The Chairman of the Democratic Party Joshua Hughes sent out a statement. In part it reads:

"Mr. Waniewski has no comprehension of the scope of the violence committed, disproportionately against African American people in cities across our nation, or the echoing silence of white people that African American activists and their allies work so hard to change."

"Mr. Waniewski’s blatant disregard of the ethical obligations of a public official, coupled with his history of using his elected office and public funds for his own personal ambition and gain, shocks the conscience. The Lucas County Democratic Party is in communication with the Ohio Elections Commission to investigate Mr. Waniewski’s appalling behavior. The City of Toledo does not need a leader that abuses their power while speaking in veiled racist terms, the City of Toledo deserves better and the voters of Toledo should remember Mr. Waniewski’s behavior at the polls."

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"You say a comment and it's always going to be up there for pot shots and politicians taking opportunity to say what they say," added Waniewski.

Pastor Perryman said he hears the stories of people in the central city and no life is different than theirs.

"We're situated at the intersection of poverty and pain. So we're not a stranger to these things and I think to make these type of like comments about something that is so serious about human tragedy is disparaging to our community."

The Lucas County Democratic Party wants the councilman to apologize.

Waniewski did clarify and explain his comment, but is sticking to what he said.