Human Relations Commission Member: Monument Park Opponents Are ‘White Racists’

Human Relations Commission member John Tibbs, at top right in glasses and light red shirt, said that opponents of the proposed monument park were “white racists.”

A member of the Township Human Relations Commission said at a recent meeting that the people who opposed a proposed “Peace and Non-Violence” monument park were “white racists.”

The member, John Tibbs, said at the commission’s Sept. 24 meeting it was the same people who several years ago opposed Catalpa Park because of plans to install cricket pitches there.

“They had this group of racist white people from this area up here, they came and filled up the council and they went off … they were going to build Middlebush Park, the same group of people … they came and they went off about the young black kids coming into the park over there. It was a major thing,” Tibbs said.

Middlebush Park is home to the township’s Pop Warner football program, as well as Franklin Township Soccer Club.

Township Councilman Rajiv Prasad has stepped aside from his council duties for the past several weeks as a result of the firestorm over his handling of the monument park’s approval process.  Also angering residents was Prasad’s characterizing opponents of the park as “Trump emboldened Republicans” who “do not want any colored statues in town.”

Speaking of that last statement and referring to a Township Council meeting held the week before the HRC’s, Tibbs said, “And somehow, the Republicans got ahold of that comment that he had made … they all came in force last week (to a Township Council meeting) and told him to apologize for that statement … and they wanted him to resign .. the council, even Phil Kramer and everybody else, they wanted Rajiv to resign.”

The monument park was proposed to hold statues of Mahatma Gandhi, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela and Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

Again referring to the Township Council meeting held the week before, Tibbs said, “Every racist white person and every Republican came up at that last meeting and they called that man (Prasad) everything, and it was embarrassing for other people to sit in there and the names they were calling Rajiv, only because of his passion for wanting to build four statues.”

“These are the same people,” Tibbs said.

Commission chairman Gary Rosenthal tried to shut Tibbs down. Rosenthal thought he had turned off the recorder prior to Tibbs’ rant, but he had not.

At one point in the video, Rosenthal can be seen walking to and hovering over the computer that controls the camera.

“This belongs in the council meeting, it does not belong here,” he told Tibbs.

“This is human relations, Gary,” Tibbs said.

Mayor Phil Kramer said later that he has spoken to Rosenthal and told him to not turn off the recorder while the meeting is in session.

“I told him coverage is gavel to gavel,” he said.

Here is the video of the meeting, hosted on the Township’s YouTube channel:



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