The first African-American Miss Alabama has been placed on administrative leave from her job at a Miami television station after she called the man who shot and killed five Dallas police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest on Thursday a “martyr” on social media.
Kalyn Chapman James, who was crowned in 1993, posted an emotional video from her vehicle on her Facebook page Sunday explaining that, while she doesn’t want to “feel this way,” she finds it difficult to be sad for the fallen police officers and “can’t help but feeling like the shooter was a martyr.”
“And I know it’s not the right way to feel because nobody deserves to lose their lives,” she said in the two-minute video. “But I’m so torn up in my heart about seeing these men, these black men, being gunned down in our community …. I wasn’t surprised by what the shooter did to those cops and I think a lot of us feel the same way and I know it’s not right and I definitely don’t condone violence against innocent people.”
The local Florida television station James works for as a host, WPBT2, placed her on administrative leave in the wake of video and issued a statement on its Twitter account Monday afternoon stating, “WPBT2 South Florida PBS does not condone the personal statements made by one of its independent contractors regarding the events in Dallas.” The station did not name James directly.
According to the station’s post, it “placed the contractor on administrative leave while it actively and carefully looks further into the matter and will determine additional course of actions based on its thorough review of the matter.”
James’ comment has not come without other consequences as well.
James told Alabama TV station WPMI there are now “people telling me to watch my back, people telling me to be careful, people telling me the police should never protect me.”
James has since apologized for her comments, telling WPMI, “I apologize to anyone who was offended by my comments — my heart was not filled with hate.”
You can watch James’ Facebook video, which is still up on her Facebook page, below: