A Cherry Hill councilwoman and longtime local official has resigned for comparing looters in Philadelphia to “animals” during a public meeting.
Carolyn Jacobs, a township council member since 2016 and a former Planning Board member, made the comments in a June 8 virtual meeting when she was discussing concerns about police violence and racial injustice.
Cherry Hill Mayor Susan Shin Angulo and the rest of the council announced Thursday that they had asked her to resign for “racially insensitive remarks.” In a statement, they said Jacobs’ comments “do not represent our community’s values.”
Jacobs said in a statement that her comments “cost me great personal anguish as well as my position as an elected councilwoman.”
“I am profoundly sorry to have offended anyone,” she said. “I sorely regret my words as well as the harm it may have caused in the community.”
In Bucks County, Planning Commission member Joan Cullen is facing calls to resign after social media posts surfaced in which she denied the existence of systemic racism, sexism, and homophobia. Montgomery County Commissioner Joseph C. Gale has drawn public calls for his resignation after he labeled Black Lives Matter “a hate group” this month.
Two weeks ago, Ana Meyers, executive director of a Pennsylvania charter school advocacy group, stepped down after posting on Facebook that the Floyd protesters “disgust” her, and that “all lives matter.”
Jacobs began her comments at the June 8 meeting by voicing her support for those impacted by police violence and racism, as well as for local marches. “I’ve been crying for those who have been harmed or killed by police violence throughout the country,” she said. ”I dearly, dearly hope that this period will bring us a new era of racial justice.
”I also cried this past week for my beloved city of Philadelphia, and with disdain for those people who took advantage of the situation to loot and to pillage, including in their own neighborhoods,” she continued, referring to looting and vandalism that took place during the initial days of largely peaceful protests. ”At the risk of being a little bit crass, I think even animals know they don’t mess their own dens.”
In Jacobs’ statement about her resignation, she said she hoped what she said “in that moment has not permanently tarnished the years of service I’ve given to Cherry Hill as a member of the Planning Board and the council, hope that my verbal offense can be forgiven, and pray that the residents of Cherry Hill trust in the sincerity of my apology.”
Jacobs, a retired programming and project consultant who has lived in the township for more than 45 years, was appointed to the council to replace Angulo when she became a Camden County freeholder, and was later elected. She is known for her work with advocacy groups over the years, including serving as a court-appointed special advocate for children who have been removed from their homes, and as a reader to children as part of the BookMates literacy program.