- Associated Press - Sunday, June 7, 2020

ESCANABA, Mich. (AP) - A city council member in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has apologized for jokingly suggesting shooting demonstrators who commit violence or vandalism during a July 4th celebration.

Escanaba Council Member Ralph Blasier spoke during a Thursday meeting about whether an Independence Day celebration should continue during the coronavirus pandemic. He read pandemic-related guidelines from a statement before the tone shifted dramatically, according to T he (Escanaba) Daily Press.

“Any person throwing objects at police, shooting at anyone, looting and setting fires will be shot in both legs and left lying there till dawn, and at dawn, each person will need to crawl to the hospital,” Blasier read, adding, “This text for your public announcement, people might want to alter it some. This is just the first draft. If I were alone in charge of the city, this is what I would publish, but I can see where some people might, change it a little bit.”

The comments amid nationwide protests following George Floyd’s death. Many early protests devolved into vandalism and violence.

Blasier apologized Friday, saying he thought he was clear it was a joke.

“Obviously, many people did not think it was as funny as I did,” he said. “I apologize to anyone and everyone who was offended.”

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