During a recent Stonewall Pride Parade in Walton Manors, Flordia, two people were run over by a truck, and one of them was killed. Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, who was present at the event, immediately rushed out to tell the media all about how this event was a homophobic terrorist attack.
The problem, however, is that there is no evidence for that grandiose claim. As it becomes increasingly clear that what happened was really just a tragic accident, Trantalis, in order to salvage his reputation, has had to walk back his earlier claims.
But the way he is walking them back will, if anything, only make him appear even more dishonest in the eyes of discerning people.
Shortly after the Pride Parade incident happened, Trantalis told WPLG, a local Florida news station, “This is a terrorist attack against the LGBT community. This is exactly what it is. Hardly an accident. It was deliberate, it was premeditated, and it was targeted against a specific person.”
All available evidence suggests that this event was indeed an accident. The man arrested for suspicion of running over the two people was seen wearing a Ft. Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus shirt at the time of his arrest. Moreover, Justin Knight, the chorus president, said that he knew the man. And also, witnesses also said that they had heard the suspect telling police that what had happened was an accident.
On the night of Sunday, June 20, Trantalis issued a statement to Fox News. The statement read, in part, “I was an eyewitness to the horrifying events. It terrorized me and all around me. I reported what I saw to law enforcement and had strong concerns about what transpired — concerns for the safety of my community. I feared it could be intentional based on what I saw from mere feet away.”
Trantalis’ statement contained no apology or admission that he had been wrong and had rushed to judgment. Therefore, it did little to quell the public’s criticism of him. As yet, there has been no apology from Trantalis’ office.
The mayor’s attempts to split hairs over calling something a “terrorist attack” and claiming that he felt “terrorized” is not going to fool anyone. To salvage what remains of his reputation, the wisest move would be to admit that he was wrong.