Mayor says comments on domestic violence were ‘misinterpreted’

Posted at 4:46 PM, Feb 28, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-28 21:14:59-05

PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) - Petersburg Mayor Brian Moore clarified comments he made Friday following a decision to allow Petersburg's city manager to remain on the job after an arrest on domestic violence related charges.

"What I would like to be known is, the City and City Council in no way, shape or form, condone domestic violence," Mayor Brian Moore told CBS 6 senior reporter Wayne Covil. "I feel my words were misinterpreted. I apologize for those who feel that it was an inappropriate statement."

Moore's clarification comes after a closed door meeting Friday in which Moore and Petersburg City Council decided to keep William Johnson III on the job pending the outcome of his case.

Johnson and his wife attended Friday's meeting, a few days after police arrested Johnson on charges of misdemeanor assault and battery stemming from a fight with his wife, according to a criminal complaint filed in Petersburg Juvenile and Domestic Court. [Read More]

Following the meeting Mayor Moore answered questions as to why Johnson was allowed to keep his job.

"We understand that they [some citizens] are upset but we also need to realize that things happen in a domestic relationship," said Mayor Moore. "It's a personal issue. You've seen he and his family. They're here in support," he continued. "We as a city, we need to look at what's best for the city at this point."

After his comments were published, a group planned to protest ahead of Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

"I understand why they are protesting and hopefully we are working towards addressing those concerns," Mayor Moore said Tuesday.

The Virginia Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) issued a statement demanding Mayor Moore apologize for his comments.

"Petersburg Mayor Brian Moore's remarks about domestic violence can have deadly consequences. Moore wrongly brushed aside the assault charge brought by Gloria Johnson against her husband, Petersburg City Manager William E. Johnson III.  By minimizing the seriousness of violence against women as "a personal issue," Moore's remarks play into the hands of batterers," Virginia NOW president Diana Egozcue wrote in the statement. " Moore's remarks play into the hands of batterers. It gives them comfort and an excuse to be abusive. With one in four women already experiencing domestic abuse and violence, we must take it seriously. Moore should apologize for his remarks."