LANSING, Mich. — The Lansing City Council voted 7-0 Monday night to censure council member Brandon Betz for the profane and taunting text messages he sent to Black activist Michael Lynn Jr.
"It is extremely important that we don’t bury our heads in the sand with this and we actually hold people accountable,” said council member Carol Wood
The council stripped Betz of his his committee assignments and strongly suggested that he resign his position.
“What my colleague did was distasteful and a lack of respect,” said council member Jeremy Garza. “I don’t believe it was something he jumped to out of being angry...There’s banter going back and forth between the two gentlemen for quite some time. I think it was a premeditated act by him, but it’s unfortunate that he chose to use those words.”
While Mayor Andy Schor did not stay for the full duration of the meeting, he spoke on the incident briefly.
“City council is a separate form of government, so I don’t really usually get involved in commenting on these things," he said. "However, I want to acknowledge that the language used by the council member in that text conversation, which was made public, was inappropriate and frankly appalling.”
Betz was not present at the meeting. He did send an email to council members on Sunday apologizing for his actions, saying in part "I know that I've let you down and that my comments and personal attacks towards Lynn do not reflect the council or the integrity of the position I hold. I'm embarrassed by my actions and lack of restraint."
"What concerned me was this happened Tuesday night, and it took him until Sunday to realize he had done something wrong," Wood said.
The text exchange took place after the State of the City address last week.
After Lynn put up a Facebook post critical of Betz, the First Ward councilman sent him a text that read, "How's having even less power in the city than you did a month ago going?" followed by 31 crying laugh emojis.
Betz went on to call Lynn a "weak ass b****" - he spelled out the obscenity - and, after Lynn protested that Betz was his council person, to tell Lynn he doesn't "represent a******s."
"All of his texts came with a racist tone," Lynn said last week. "The one about power, like what are you trying to say? I am less of a Black man now?"
Betz has also parted ways with his employer, The Michigan League for Public Policy. Aside from confirming that he no longer works there, the organization gave no comment.