On her personal Facebook page, LaWana Mayfield publicly shared a fake news article claiming a scientific journal determined the collapse of the Twin Towers was a controlled demolition.
Mayfield wrote on Facebook, “I am still waiting for someone to produce pieces of the alleged plane that opened the doors for US Citizens to loose (sic) all privacy rights (from the conspiracy theorist in me).”
According to The Associated Press, Mayfield told WFAE-FM that she thought the attacks were used “to not only create a way through government to spy on the American people, but also to privatize a lot of the work that is happening on the ground.”
Overnight, Mayfield edited her post. She didn't apologize but, instead, defended herself and doubled down on a conspiracy theory that has already been debunked.
After the post garnered attention on social media, and national newspapers started reporting on it, Mayfield edited her post to say she didn't want to cause controversy but didn't want to delete it. She also emphasized the rights she and others have to freedom of speech.
Mayfield later apologized for the tweet. In a statement, Mayfield does not apologize for her 9/11 comments and said she will not resign.
The online petition calling for Mayfield to resign had gained 430 signatures as of Wednesday evening.
People who were personally affected by 9/11 are calling Mayfield’s comments hurtful and offensive.
Peter Blaich, who is now a volunteer firefighter in Cornelius, was working for the New York Fire Department on 9/11 in Lower Manhattan.
“9/11 is still like it happened yesterday,” he said.
Blaich witnessed the plane hit the north tower and ran toward the chaos to save lives before being dispatched.
“I buried 43 of my closest friends,” he said. “With comments like that, you need to maybe educate yourself more. But more than that, I think the simplest thing to do is reach out to people who were actually there during the event.”
“I think it’s absolutely disgusting that someone in public office would make a comment like that,” Edmund Walker said.
Walker, who lives in Union County, lost his brother-in-law Steven, who was killed while he climbed up the Twin Towers to save lives.
Walker’s family started the Firefighter Steven Coakley Foundation, which places thousands of flags in Romare Bearden Park every September -- one for every person who died in the terrorist attack.
Walker called Mayfield’s comments incredibly offensive and thinks she should resign.
“Someone in our leadership that clearly doesn’t believe basic American history is now making decisions for a lot of Charlotteans,” Walker said.
Councilman Braxton Winston said everyone is entitled to their opinion, but there are repercussions.
Councilman Tariq Bakhari posted on Twitter: “We have a lot of critical and challenging work on our plate right now, and I don’t have a spare second to be distracted with things that don’t make sense.”
Ironically, Mayfield just called for an investigation into a Charlotte Housing Authority worker who allegedly posted a tweet on Facebook applauding the death of Keith Lamont Scott, who was shot by police during an incident that sparked a nationwide debate.
University of North Carolina - Charlotte professor Anita Blanchard said these types of comments on social media are becoming more common.
She said leaders and those who use social media platforms should learn to be more media savvy.
“Finding a way to say something that’s not rude that still gets your point across,” she said.
Mayfield didn’t immediately respond to Channel 9’s calls about the tweet, but she tweeted again Friday afternoon saying, “I wish the media would question #45 about why we were in Niger.”
Mayfield is up for re-election. Her Republican opponent Daniel Herrera sent WSOC the following statement:
"I have heard of my opponent's divisive, and inflammatory tweet of political rhetoric comparing the President of the United States to Hitler, pure evil and everything President Trump and I stand to oppose.
While LaWana Mayfield only wishes to divide our community by using the power of fear to distract from her failures. I stand to change and unite District Three. I will move us forward with policies that support safer streets that allow mail to be delivered and not canceled because of street violence. I have a real plan to promote affordable housing rather than subsidized soccer stadiums that only support the developers who own her vote. I will always represent my faith and never write a policy like her devastating bathroom bill, the one she spearheaded and forced upon our Queen City and which brought so much distrain to our community.
Shame on Mayfield for her continuation of divisive political tactics. Shame on her for disrespecting the over 400,000 Defenders of Freedom who fell beneath our flag to defeat Hitler."
Mayfield's statement in response to the backlash:
"The Constitutional right of "Free Speech" is a precious and uniquely beloved gift among Americans. With this gift of free speech comes great responsibility. To some, I did not express that responsibly within the limited characters of my earlier tweet. I apologize for the brevity of my statement due to being limited to 140 characters. Many times, we cannot fully express intent or emotion through this limited platform."
"I do not want to diminish the heinous treatment and genocide that our Jewish brothers and sisters experienced at the hands of this dictator nor do I want to further create a dialogue that does not focus on the facts at hand."
"Today, we read about history as a story in a book and sometimes disassociate from the realities of lives impacted. Our communities must unite and realize that at this intersectionality of both conservative and liberal, white and people of color, gay or straight, young and seniors, these variances and diverse populations have strength when they unite in one voice."
"My anger and passion when tweeting was directed to those that continue to make excuses for a man who is leading our Nation in a divisive direction. His policies, the creation of the 'Birther movement,' executive orders and continual mistreatment of marginalized communities has quickly eroded the landscape of civility and civil discourse in our society.
"I value the diversity of my community, work to be inclusive and give voice to those that are not at the table and bring equity to this city that I love.""While my words chosen have offended some, my intent was to bring attention to the continued crisis that we face each day while this president is leading us. My post angered some and I stay in a state of anger every day I watch the news and this like many posts was shared to shine a light on hypocrisy and the discourse rising in our nation."