Rochester City Council member Jose Peo last Monday went on Facebook to publicly apologize for making racially-charged remarks on social media regarding racial disparities of COVID-19 cases. He was joined by Rev. Dr. Marlow Washington. In a follow up statement he released, Peo continued his apology, admitting that he used “derogatory and divisive language that had no place in the public discord, especially during the pandemic our world is facing.”
“I am not proud of my actions, and I want to offer my sincerest apology to the City of Rochester and those impacted by my words. I encourage any member of our community to reach out to me directly at Jose.Peo@cityofrochester.gov.”
On Easter Sunday Peo sent footage which showed dozens of African Americans who congregated on Clifford Avenue near the scene of a triple shooting. He dismissed racial disparities in the disproportionate spread of COVID-19 among Blacks, instead, criticized local Black leaders for Blacks not following social distancing guidelines. Many viewed it as targeting Mayor Lovely Warren who, despite encouraging the minority community to use safe guidelines including distancing, did not have police intervene in the emotional gathering for fear of escalating the situation.