Allen County Councilman Larry Brown has resigned after comments he made about Fort Wayne protesters prompted thousands online to petition for his resignation.

During a County Council meeting June 18, Brown asked council members if they should issue a public statement on the demonstrations in downtown Fort Wayne, which were spurred by the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis.

Toward the end of the discussion, Brown said of protesters, “As uneducated as they are, obviously, on local government, they do vote. And, unfortunately they also breed, but they do vote and they’re going to be an uneducated voter.”

After Brown’s remarks, Council President Joel Benz said the meeting was not the proper format for addressing those concerns. On June 22, Brown sent a letter of resignation to Benz and Allen County Republican Party Chairman Steve Shine.

Brown represents the county’s 4th district. His term was set to end at the end of 2022. The Allen County Republican Party will caucus July 6 to fill the vacancy.

In a June 19 Facebook post, Benz described Brown as “a good-hearted person, and a hardworking public servant.” However, he said that doesn’t excuse Brown’s comments. At that time, Benz asked that the county’s legal team explore the possibility of a censure for Brown.

After receiving Brown’s letter of resignation, Benz issued the following statement: “I appreciate the decision Larry Brown has made to resign from County Council. It is the correct choice and the only way forward after Thursday’s meeting. I thank Mr. Brown for his years of public service and for his decision to put the community ahead of himself. But Mr. Brown’s resignation does not solve the challenge laid bare by Thursday’s meeting. Allen County Council will continue to consider ways to make local government more inclusive, more understanding and more representative of our very diverse community. We are committed to devoting the time and resources to that crucial task. Council will also continue to consider the question of censure, even though Mr. Brown is no longer a member of Council. It is important that it become a part of the permanent record that these comments are and will always be unacceptable and not representative of the values of this community or of Allen County government.”

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