- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 15, 2020

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) - A commissioner for the most populous county in Kansas urged constituents to buy firearms and prepare for a “coming war” in a Facebook post that described a chaotic end to law and order.

Mike Brown, a white member of the Johnson County commission in suburban Kansas City, used the hashtags “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” as he described violence, “burning churches” and “looting stores” in the weekend post.

“I hear the war drum off in the distance from a not far away place foreshadowing in whispers the haunting cadence of the coming war,” he wrote, urging people to “buy a firearm and ammunition and take a class now to learn how to safely use it to defend yourself and your property, know what’s happening around you at all times.”

The post is no longer public, but Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, a Democrat who is Black, retweeted images of it Monday and described the message as “racist” and “reckless.”

Johnson County commission chairman Ed Eilert noted that Brown was up for election in November.

“The voters in his district do have a decision to make,” he said in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press. “We want our community safe. We want law enforcement to operate in a safe environment. The feedback I read and I hear is people looked at that post and saw indications that there was a violent note to it. We understand free speech and Second Amendment rights, but it left the opportunity for many, many people to come away with the idea that it promoted violence.”

Brown’s commentary comes after President Donald Trump said while laying out his case for reelection that a Joe Biden presidency would “give free rein to violent anarchists,” a contention that Biden has disputed.

Brown, a Republican, wrote the post following the shooting of two sheriff’s deputies in California. He didn’t respond to phone or email messages from The Associated Press. But he said in an email to The Kansas City Star that he is “only speaking out against violence and calling on other electeds, community leaders and citizens to do the same.”

During his term, Brown has come under fire multiple times for his Facebook posts, including in March when he wrote that the COVID-19 pandemic is a “political stunt” and told constituents to “get a grip.” In recent months, Brown has sparred with other commissioners and public health officials over COVID-19 restrictions and the mask mandate, The Star reported. The county stressed in a statement Tuesday that that the mask order remains in effect.

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