City Council addresses rise of hate speech at public meetings

Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson plans to publicly discuss today his concerns about hate speech directed at the council, including a public-comment card that featured an image of a burning cross and a Ku Klux Klan-type figure holding a noose and a sign with a racial epithet directed at Wesson.

Wesson is scheduled to hold a news conference at City Hall Thursday morning to discuss the issue of recent hate speech at City Council meetings.

Los Angeles police confirmed that Wayne Spindler, 46, was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats in connection with the public comment card. Spindler was arrested Friday and his bail was set at $75,000. He was
released about 10 p.m. that night.

Spindler allegedly submitted a public-comment card at a May 11 meeting of the council's Rules, Elections, Intergovernmental Relations and Neighborhood Committee. The card, which is still available for viewing in a public records portion of the City Clerk's Office website, indicates it was submitted by

"Wayne from ENCINO.'' The card also includes a drawing of a burning cross and a drawing of a tree with a person hanging from a noose.

In the middle of the card, there is a drawing of what appears to be a triangular-shaped person in a KKK hood carrying a noose and a sign that says "Herb = (N-word).''

Wesson, who is black, told the L.A. Sentinel newspaper he has become increasingly alarmed by Spindler's actions and comments at council meetings.

"Criticism comes with the job and I can usually blow it off as part of the job,'' he told the paper. "But the often harassing and threatening comments made by Mr. Spindler have become increasingly worse over time. It has
risen to the point that I have serious concerns about my safety, my family's safety, my staff's safety and the safety of my colleagues on the city council.''

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