PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Councilman Bill Moody apologized Monday after posting a tweet that called Black Lives Matter protesters ‘thugs.’
The tweet came after Moody says he received 12 phone calls from citizens complaining Sunday night about the protesters blocking I-264.
It read: “I am getting calls from people who are having trouble getting home and as far as I know nobody has been arrested. nothing but thugs.”
“I was frustrated. Knowing it’s illegal to shut down the interstate, I was frustrated, so I used a word to describe them that I shouldn’t have used. It was way too strong,” Moody told 10 On Your Side Monday.
‘Thug’ is a word that social psychologist Dr. Karen Holmes says can shape the public’s view of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Protesters are peaceful. They have a common goal. They have a common voice. Thugs suggests a group of out-of-control criminals,” said Holmes, a professor at Norfolk State University.
Holmes said ‘thug’ is a word that can divide a community needing to come together.
“It’s often used as a euphemism for the N-word,” she explained.
Moody said he did not know the connotation of ‘thug’ when he wrote the tweet.
“I apologize for the use of the word ‘thugs’ to describe the protesters. That was a bad choice, bad use of the word,” he said.
Moody said he supports the Black Lives Matter movement, but can’t support blocking a major highway.
“I do feel the law shouldn’t have been broken, the interstate shouldn’t have been shut down. I think they could have done their protesting without doing that.”
Moody has since deleted the tweet.