Public expresses concerns over councilman’s comments

By Lucas Vance lvance@civitasmedia.com

April 29, 2014

WINNSBORO — The public recently addressed a county councilman’s comments from a meeting last month, when a councilman suggested people in District 4 should “arm” themselves.

District 4 Councilman Kamau Marcharia advised people to “arm” themselves after being informed residents in the area were making citizen’s arrests.

According to Marcharia, some incidents included young males being grabbed by the arm, physically restrained and told to turn down their music in one instance and to stop littering in another.

Concerned by the suggestion, Dawkins area resident Bruce Wadsworth told council — Marcharia specifically — that he never expected to hear council tell young people to arm themselves.

“I want to address Mr. Marcharia,” Wadsworth began. “It makes me sick to my stomach when you tell our young people to arm themselves. What type of message are you sending to the young people in our neighborhood. We’ve cleaned up our neighborhood and we’ve had no incident reports in the last two to three years and that was without your help. We’re working on stuff in our neighborhood and then you come here and tell our young people to arm themselves. We don’t need that kind of input in our neighborhood.”

Wadsworth stated that Marcharia has grandchildren in the Dawkins area and said he didn’t think Marcharia would want his grandchildren in a neighborhood where people were arming themselves.

“Are blacks supposed to arm themselves against whites or are whites supposed to arm themselves against blacks,” he questioned Marcharia with no response. “We never had a racial problem in that area and for you to start a racial problem… We’re trying to clean up our neighborhood, we’re not trying to put weapons in our young people’s hands. Don’t tell our young people to arm themselves. Bad, bad, bad, that’s bad. I never expected that to come from you (Marcharia).”

During county council time, Marcharia addressed Wadsworth’s comments and recounted incidents where he has been the victim of an assault and a shooting since serving as the councilman for District 4.

While attending a community meeting in Dawkins, Marcharia was told by an unidentified person that if he or she saw someone doing something wrong, then he or she would hold a supposed offender until the police arrived.

“I said you need to keep your hands off of people, you don’t have a right and that’s kidnapping,” Marcharia replied to the unidentified person. “You just need to report the accurate information as to who did what, but you don’t need to hold anyone.

“That is when I said if you grab a young African-American and they don’t know who you are, they break away from you and run to their car, you have a law that say I thought they were going to kill me so I shot them,” Marcharia continued. “And then that’s just a dead person. That is stand your ground and that is the Trayvon Martin stuff.”

Marcharia did not retract his suggestion that people should arm themselves.

“People are crazy now a days,” he stated. “They will shoot you for ethnic reasons, no reason or whatever reason they can come up with it. There is some crazy things going on and I don’t trust people’s mentality. No, I do not feel safe sitting up here and I feel like my life might be in danger.”