Mayor Jerry Smith addresses speech to media


Noah Thornburgh

Mayor Jerry Smith speaks to DeKalb business owners’ concerns Tuesday at an emergency meeting in the municipal building, 200 S. Fourth St., while Brad Hoey, president of the DeKalb County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, films on his phone.

DeKALB — Mayor Jerry Smith expressed “regret” regarding his speech to the media when he used the word “thugs.” 

Community members held a peaceful protest Saturday after the death of George Floyd who was arrested by police officers May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Smith addressed the media Sunday after looting took place earlier in the day. Smith said he was “mad” after viewing the aftermath of looting.

“In no way did my comments intend to be disrespectful,” Smith said. “Following hours of watching some destructive behavior, and then traveling throughout our community to view its aftermath, I was mad. Especially so to those very few who chose to channel their anger in an unlawful way.”

He said the community should continue to “celebrate our diversity” and that he was proud of the city for its “very peaceful vigil and march on Saturday.”

“Correspondingly, my responsibilities to maintaining public safety will continue to be foremost in my mind,” Smith said in the statement.