Tobias Harris publicly called for the resignation of Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale, who referred to Black Lives Matter as a hate group in a press statement issued Monday.
The 76ers forward followed his tweets by signing a petition Tuesday, demanding Gale’s resignation for his statement regarding the civil unrest in Philadelphia that followed peaceful protests Saturday against racial injustice and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Floyd, a 46-year-old African American, died while since-fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned him with his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Chauvin, who is white, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter..
“What we saw this weekend in Philadelphia was not a protest -- it was a riot,” read the opening line of Gale’s statement.
He added that nearly every major American city was “ravaged by looting, violence and arson.”
“The perpetrators of this urban domestic terror are radical left-wing hate groups like Black Lives Matter,” wrote Gale, who is a Republican. “This organization, in particular, screams racism not to expose bigotry and injustice, but to justify the lawless destruction of our cities and surrounding communities. Their objective is to unleash chaos and mayhem without consequences by falsely claiming they, in fact, are the victims.”
After reading Gale’s release, Harris took to Twitter.
“I honestly can’t believe what I’m reading,” he said. “@JoeGalePA Black Lives Matter a hate group?! This statement and your whole press release at that is disgusting to read. RESIGN!”
The socially conscious player then signed and retweeted a Change.org petition calling on Gale to resign.
Harris and teammate Matisse Thybulle attended a peaceful protest Saturday afternoon that was organized by the Philadelphia chapter of Black Lives Matter.