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No censure for trustee in Menomonee Falls after alleged racist comment

Posted at 5:41 AM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 10:23:59-04

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. — No censure for a Menomonee Falls trustee who some say made a racist comment on Facebook. This decision came after a fiery village board meeting. Residents showed up to speak out and call for Trustee Steve Taggart’s resignation.

This came after a comment Taggart made two weeks ago in a closed Facebook group.

Someone in a Facebook group posted: “I live on Townhall Road and pretty sure I heard gunshots?”

Taggart commented: “Police Firing Range - practicing for Saturday”

A racial equality rally was scheduled for Saturday by Menomonee Falls students at the middle school.

“I was stunned and appalled to hear Mr. Taggart’s inappropriate texted comments,” said an unidentified woman.

“Not only were his comments insinuating the police were planning a shootout with children at our middle school. His apology was nothing more than a list of excuses,” said resident Clayton Jones.

“He hasn’t incited violence, he hasn’t done anything illegal. He hasn’t mentioned race,” said Paul Moldenhauer.

“Whether you agree with him or not is an issue for an election,” said Adam Sachs.

“I would like you to resign and make room for someone who can lead us into a future where Black lives matter,” said Bethany Miota.

One person who spoke out drew a harsh reaction from the crowd for how she described what she thought was happening to Taggart.

“If we are going to hold him accountable and lynch him in the nearest tree then we might as well hold everyone else accountable,” said Stephanie Kosmeder.

At that point, the crowd began to shout at Kosmeder to repeat the word she used. Then she was confronted by the audience for her use of the word lynch. Kosmeder apologized before continuing her speech.

Finally, Taggart spoke, issuing an apology before the board voted a split decision not to censure him.

“I am very sorry for a momentary lack of judgment and allowing a comment to be taken out of context,” said Taggart. “You looked at my comment instantly negatively because of the national pressure on it. And you said, ‘There’s the guy, there’s the guy, we have one here, let’s go get him.’”

Village Board President David Glasgow asked the village attorney if it was possible for trustees to vote to remove another trustee. That can only be done if the trustee is either physically incapable of performing the job or if that person is grossly neglect of duty. Glasgow clarified then the only action left to take, if any, would be from voters in a recall election.

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