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Mayor says Associated Press misquoted Parson-McBean

April 25, 2007|by DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The mayor said Tuesday that it's time to end a dispute that began after a statement was read by Councilwoman Alesia Parson-McBean during the March sentencing of Jeffrey Shifler.

Shifler, a 16-year veteran of the Hagerstown Police Department, was sentenced in March to 51 months in prison for making racist threats against Parson-McBean, who is African-American, and black students at North Hagerstown and South Hagerstown high schools.

During Tuesday's City Council meeting, Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said The Associated Press misquoted a part of the statement that Parson-McBean read.

That quote stated Parson-McBean as saying, "I see (Shifler's acts) as one man's arrogance, which is not uncommon in Hagerstown, where white men believe they can do what they want and get away with it."

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Bruchey said a certified transcript from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland Northern Division states that Parson-McBean said "believed" rather than "believe."

"Councilwoman Parson-McBean's statement was used in the past tense," Bruchey said Tuesday while reading a prepared statement to the council. "Something as little as one letter can cause discourse in our community, and it is sad The Associated Press did not hear the comments correctly."

According to the court transcript, Parson-McBean said, "I see this as one man's arrogance, which is not uncommon in Hagerstown, where a white man believed that they can do what they want and get away with it to most anyone, and for a long period of time they have.

"Mr. Shifler, I find you to be extremely arrogant. What you did, you did it because you thought you could, and that's not uncommon in Hagerstown."

Bruchey said it is up to every resident "to grow, prosper and unify our community so that we can be a place where all people want to live, work and raise their families."

After the meeting, the mayor said that he waited to make a statement until he uncovered all of the facts from the official court transcript.

Parson-McBean said her thanks went out to Bruchey for making the effort.

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