UPDATE (9/25/20 2:24 p.m.)
MORGANTOWN & CHARLESTON, W.Va. – In the letter sent to West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice earlier this week, Del. Danielle Walker asked Justice to address the issue during his COVID-19 briefing on Friday.
Justice did not bring it up on his own, but was asked about it by a newspaper reporter. Gov. Justice said that he had a West Virginia state trooper sent to talk with her. Justice also asked representatives from the West Virginia Human Rights Commission to reach out to Walker, he said. “We don’t need to tolerate at any level, any level of hate and hatred and hate speech, and everything, to go on anywhere at anytime,” Justice said.
The governor’s full comments on the issue can be seen below:
Following the governor’s comments, 12 News reached out to Del. Walker for her reaction. Walker felt that his comment was very general and wasn’t specific to her concerns, especially since the letter specifically condemned white supremacy, she said. She wanted to know who exactly the statement was directed toward, because “hate is different for each person,” Walker told 12 News.
The State Police did call Walker and said they would patrol around her home and would work to have troopers available while she is in public, she said.
Walker also spoke with a representative from the Human Rights Commission who asked what she would like from Gov. Justice, Walker said. Her response was that she wants Gov. Justice to call her, so that they can discuss the issue and work through steps to ensure that every West Virginian is protected, she said.
ORIGINAL STORY (9/23/20 2:56 p.m.)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia House of Delegates member Del. Danielle Walker, D–51, has sent a letter to Gov. Jim Justice asking him to denounce what she describes as the “hate” she and others experienced during a Black Lives Matter protest in Preston County held Sept. 12.
In the letter, which Walker began with two of Justice’s favorite catch phrases (“in no shape, form or fashion” and “run to the fire”), she claims she was approached by counter protesters with Nazi symbol tattoos who shouted the N-word, “White Power” and other racially charged phrases at her.
Walker goes on to say that she was approached by people carrying rifles.
Walker said she wears body armor and travels with security, even to go to the store, due to the threats she has received.
Walker also detailed her displeasure that fellow lawmakers and Justice have not spoken out against the counter protesters, specifically mentioning State Senator Dave Sypolt, R–14, who she said watched the incident in Kingwood from “the safety of his vehicle,” and other state senators who recently wrote a letter to Marshall University and West Virginia University officials objecting to the use of “BLM” stickers on the helmets of each school’s football team.
Walker concludes the letter by saying:
“Will you condemn the hate that was illustrated in our Mountain State from these White supremacists? Will you take a stand for racial equality and equity? Will you protect me as one of your House of Delegates members, as I live every day in fear for my life? Will you protect my freedom to speak? Hate is not making America Great. This Mountaineer does NOT feel FREE.”
Walker asked Justice for a phone call, as well as mentioning the issue during his COVID-19 briefing coming up on Friday.
Read the full letter here.