McGettigan Should Apologize for Racial Insult

Aug. 27, 2007

Atlantic County Republican Chairman Keith Davis today called on the Democrat candidate for County Executive, Sheriff Jim McGettigan, to ?apologize publicly and immediately? for his use of the derogatory ethnic term ?wetback? to describe Hispanics and individuals of Mexican heritage during a discussion of immigration issues Saturday at a public forum in Brigantine.

?For the Sheriff ? the county?s chief law enforcement officer ? to use that kind of language is unconscionable,? Davis said. ?If this is how he is willing to refer to people in public, one can only imagine what kind of language he uses to refer to ethnic minorities in private.?

?The issue of illegal immigration and how best to address it is a serious one, not one to be dismissed in a joking fashion or by casually throwing around the kind of deeply offensive personal insults McGettigan uttered,? Davis said. ?His remarks are reminiscent of the kind of language southern sheriffs used routinely to justify their actions during the civil rights movement in the 50?s and 60?s.?

?His comment is an insult to the entire Hispanic community in Atlantic County and he owes them an apology,? the chairman said. ?He has sought the support of that community in his prior election campaigns and he is seeking it now. His idea of expressing gratitude for their support is by referring to them and their heritage in a derogatory fashion.?

Davis said McGettigan ?has demonstrated time and again that he does not possess the temperament, judgment, or ability to serve as County Executive.?

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