April 5, 2010 9:05:00 AM
As Mayor of the City of Columbus
I would like to take this time to offer a sincere apology to my Family, my Friends and Fellow Council Members, and especially to the Citizens of Columbus for the event that took place at City Hall on last Thursday night. The event that occurred that night was truly unfortunate and I deeply regret that this has happened.
I would also like to take this time to offer my sincerest apology to the youth of Columbus and the surrounding areas. I am not now nor ever condoning violence in any way, shape, form or fashion.
It is my prayer that we, as a City, can turn away from the spectacle of the past few days and return our attention to all of the great things that are going on in the Wonderful City of Columbus.
I hope that I can regain any trust and respect that has been lost due to my actions. It is still my goal to work hard, persevere and continue my efforts to make Columbus a city of hope, unity and a City that we all can be proud of.
Robert E. Smith, Sr.
rezinenow commented at 4/5/2010 10:05:00 AM:
Punishment fit the crime? JR left the job for a way less offense. We can afford another special election.
KJ commented at 4/5/2010 10:07:00 AM:
It's difficult to respect someone who enforces one set of behavioral expectations on underlings while reserving the right to exempt oneself from the same.
We have demonstrated that we do not tolerate this kind of behavior. However bitter the pill, the road to trust and respect starts with Mr. Smith, as a city administrator, being held to the same standards and subject to the same disciplinary action a city employee would face.
Concerned commented at 4/5/2010 10:23:00 AM:
How did I know this wasn't going to be a resignation? So if I rob a bank and send them a letter saying I'm sorry then all is well? Do I get to keep the money?
Impeach the mayor and council if they don't resign.
heather commented at 4/5/2010 10:34:00 AM:
A precedent already has been set. Neither Jackie Ball or Chuck Weldon resigned after their fisticuffs in a city council meeting. Besides, if someone came to my office and poked a finger in my face, I might react the same way as the mayor did. A solution to all this raging testosterone in city and county government would be to elect some women, as others have said. Diversity is always a good thing. Until then, I guess our elected officials had better invest in pugilistic training!
joe commented at 4/5/2010 11:18:00 AM:
Smith is just a educated Thug who have most people fooled like he's a good guy.
Sallymae commented at 4/5/2010 11:30:00 AM:
Give me a break!!!
Do you think the mayor would have ever apologized if there had not been such an outcry from the public. He's sorry now alright. Sounds like a child saying he is sorry only because he got caught doing something he knew was wrong just so he won't get a spanking for it.
Folks this is just an everyday happening now a days. People of any kind of stature in the community think if they don't get caught all is well they can just do what they want but let them get caught then all I have to do is apoligize and all will be right with the world.
I don't for one minute believe he is sorry. Yeah right he isn't or never has or will condone violence. Exactly what do you call your actions Mr. Smith? I for one will never put my trust in you again.
My, my, my, what a sorry state this city has become!
Concerned commented at 4/5/2010 12:20:00 PM:
In Smith's apology not once did he try to use this opportunity to persuade the public that it was Karriem's fault. That shows to me that the Mayor is somewhat accepting responsibilities for "HIS" actions.
Karriem however went off and used this opportunity to point fingers and make excuses for his actions and try to lay blame on the mayor. That and accusing the witness of lying is a pretty good sign that Karriem is a rat.
They both need impeaching. If we had a law enforcement agency worth a crap then they would have locked them both up for disturbing the peace.
blonde commented at 4/5/2010 12:49:00 PM:
I regret to say it is sad when we have this happening in our office of the columbus city officals . WE need this fighting to stop and this has went on several times in the past in office of the citys meetings . It is with this That it is time to make elections with smart decisions and elect people who need this city on the map and to grow . I see so many cities around us growing . Columbus always has thing build and close. We can be more than we are and grow to our full growth for our city. But not without the people put in office who see this as more . We have been behind for too long . We need big growth and closed minds in office to move and let this great city grow. We need eperienced people in office who can be role
models in all office positions , Without this it is just another city like more of the same. We can be so much more, what do you want Columbus to be and how do you see and how big do you see the growth in and picture it and elect great people to make it happen It takes all of us to carry it through and it will be even better city with much success and steady growth. caring .
close enuf commented at 4/5/2010 1:07:00 PM:
I'm close enough to RS to know that he had regrets before he found out KK was going to the er. No he's not the best guy but he's no where close to being the animal some are portraying him to be. We all have our opinions and thats just what they are "our opinions". Stop being so quick to judge when you have so few details.
only human commented at 4/5/2010 1:18:00 PM:
What happened between the mayor and councilman was an awful and disappointing situation but we all are human and humans do make mistakes. Just because they hold office doesn't mean that they are perfect or will do everything right all the time. I personally feel that before we judge we need to take a look at ourselves and check whether we do it all right all of the time. NO!!! Are we exempt from displaying proper behavior as long as we don't hold a public office? NO!!! Could you honestly say that in the heat of the moment you are absolutely sure that you won't curse or fight? NO!!! Let's pray for our Mayor and Councilman so that they all can work together for the city of Columbus
MB commented at 4/5/2010 1:21:00 PM:
I do not know either of the two men involved but Kabir Karriem sounds like the problem to me. If someone comes into my space (office) and starts something it is going to escalate if they do not leave! The mentality of Columbus voters is beyond me. Didn't Karriem's brother hold this alderman position at one point? What makes people thing that Kabir Karriem would have been any better than his brother? Why are you people in Columbus so dumb that you keep electing people like Karriem to office. If it is not someone on the council it is Brooks on the Board of Supervisors. Seems to me like Karriem and Leroy Brooks are the biggest two trouble makers in Lowndes County! When are you people in Lowndes County going to wake up and get these two thugs out of office?
goodidea commented at 4/5/2010 1:30:00 PM:
Take a reporter to the jail and see how many there will make humble apologies to be set free. I think KJ finally came up with a fitting statement at the top of thread. No one should be above the law but it seems to be happening in this case. I predict charges will be dropped and a big kiss and make up party at sim scott. Laughing stocks.
a wake up call commented at 4/5/2010 1:47:00 PM:
Leroy is the power behind Kabir. Kabir does not make a move without LB's blessing. It's all about power. Northside - Southside. What has Kabir ever done? Work in a kitchen or operate a bad radio show. Oh that should qualify you to run a city goverment. This is why we are in the mess we are in. GET QUALIFIED PEOPLE TO HOLD OFFICE. Most of the ones that are fit to hold office do want or need the headaches. Can you blame them. You only have 3 -4 people that are in office who know how to run a business. Some of these will be leaving after their term. Try to encourage them to run again. You know who they are. Be very glad we have them or the whole thing would be gone! This is a WAKE - UP CALL. Can you hear it Columbus? The next time when you awake it will all be GONE! THIS IS SO SAD!
walter commented at 4/5/2010 4:14:00 PM:
It is, indeed, an unfortunate incident when two of the elected-officials I've come to respect most in the entire world are provoked into a physical altercation. It is very fortunate that they each realized the political and social damage that their behaviour could have upon the majority population within the city and have acted promptly to diminish it's effect. They are both to be commended for putting the need of the young to learn from their slip in judgment and agreeing to air the matter publicly with a full, unequivocal apology to all. He without blemish, you sir? You madame? Cast the first stone!!!
Mayor Smith and Councilman Kabir, both Honorable men, are just that: men, mere mortals, subject to the very same frailties as the rest of us, equally as vulnerable human emotions as each of us and when pushed to the breaking point, they, like any of us, will release stress. It goes without saying, a pointed-finger, depending upon words spoken and other body language may, or may not, be deemed provocative and threatening. All factors considered, there are situations where one confronted by another with a finger pointed in one's face is justified in physically defending him or herself. Anyone who has watched a rerun of a Bruce Lee movie or one of the other martial arts movies will know that a carefully and swiftly placed finger can seriously harm a person. Anyone actually trained in the arts know that the harm can, in fact, be devastating. A single pointed finger? Yes! A single, well-placed single finger can cause serious enough damage, if directed toward the face, to permanently injure another. If the Councilman initiated the confrontation by poking his finger in the face of the Mayor, even though he is Mayor of our fair city, he is first and foremost a ciizen. As a citizen, the constitution gives him just as much to self-defense as it does any other citizen. As a full-grown man, he has every right to defend both his dignity and his body from the attack of any other man, by any means necessary, regardless of the race, religion, class or political office he holds or the office held by such other. I'm no lawyer, but I'm a life-long student of constitutional law and I would debate anyone, anywhere about the Mayor's legitimate right to self-defense. Politically, he was justified, too, if someone acted politically in poking their finger in his face, without him doing anything to warrant their doing so.
If the city has an ordinance that prohibits city employees, including the Mayor, from acting in their own self-defense, then such an ordinance is unconstitutional on it's face in that it subsribes what or circumvent what the Fedral Constitution gurantees as a right for all U.S. Citizens: the right to self-defense.
It is hoped, indeed, my prayer is that Honorable Mayor Robert Smith and Council Man Kabir Karriem would place this unfortunate event behind them, guard against the age old tactic of divide-and-conquer and re-double their efforts to push the city forward for all of the citizens, black, white, brown and others. Conscious folks know that the devil is always busy and that the devil doesn't appear in red skin, horn and tail, carrying a pick fork. More often than not, he has hidden behind white robes and he has used both black and white people to keep us all behind.
The lesson fore the young to learn from this sordid affair is this: Despite being bitterly upset about something and going to blows, neither Mayor Smith, nor Councilman Karriem used a weapon or resorted to deadly force. They still loved and cared enough about each other, despite being angry, so that they didn't use force great enough to destroy each other. Hopefully, young people will benefit by from the latter lesson, as much as they will that we shouldn't act aggressively toward each other and that we are all entitled to a level of dignity and respect, beyond which no one should tread, whether councilman, policeman, rich or poor.
Let no one attempt to exploiut this situation for their own political gain. Let no one think that they'll succeed in 2010 in conquering the justified inspiration of a people for equality and justice by dividing them and fostering distrust and embarrassment of two outstanding leaders. Mistakes are made. Wise, intelligent peoples learn from them and grow stronger. Mayor Smith and Councilman Karriem are two such persons.
north side commented at 4/5/2010 4:30:00 PM:
Bruce Lee - finger fight ? Where are you from ? Love and care for each other ? I don't think so. North side rules !
Concerned commented at 4/5/2010 4:55:00 PM:
They showed their true ignorance. Let's find 2 more to replace them.
Justin Smith commented at 4/5/2010 7:20:00 PM:
You thug life POS! "Mayor" is something that needs to be taken off of you and given to someone worthy of the title!
Only a matter of time until you were given enough rope.
Hope my mother gets a little something from you and your hired gun thugs for what you and that little creepy partner in crime of yours did to me.
*********** commented at 4/5/2010 7:20:00 PM:
Walter that was the smoothest crop of b/s that I have heard yet. What would happen if we just ignored this and it escalated to the point to where Karriem or Smith decided they would pocket a gun "just in case" this situation escalated to a "higher level" of hate. Then they broke out guns and shot an innocent taxpayer that was NOT behind on his taxes while shooting at each other. If we just lets say "forget about it" and then an innocent bystander were to get hurt because it escalated to a higher level then wouldn't the city be negligent for dealing with this occurrence by just "forgetting about it"? Just how do you suppose "forgetting" this incident is going to prevent this animosity from escalating to the next level? Now I am no lawyer either but I do know everyone is entitled to be provided a work place in which they feel safe to work there without having to feel intimidated or in fear of their life. Now those two idiots Karriem and Smith may not feel they have anything to worry about but there are other people who work for this city besides Mr Smith and Karriem and they have a say so in this as well. They have a right to do their jobs without worrying if Mr Smith or Karriem is going to SNAP again! So even though your incoherent rambling b/s may sound good on the surface, it stinks on the inside.
Are you serious? commented at 4/5/2010 8:09:00 PM:
walter walter walter....you can't be serious with the self-defence to a finger pointing? Kabir know how to cause serious damage with his finger? I was almost in tears in that one. There is only one location he knows where to put his finger and it's not in robert's face. There is no way on the face of the earth that Kabir could take Robert in a fight.
ms annie commented at 4/5/2010 8:51:00 PM:
Kabir is a disgrace to this race. I dont know why yall ever put that fool in office. He ant never done no good for snybody. so why you think he can do this job. I rather have the whit man than him. Yall done gone and messed up bad. Now think about it for 4 years. I hope we can get thru this mess that long. Lord help our soles cause we dont seam to know how to help ourself.
Justin Smith commented at 4/5/2010 9:12:00 PM:
Gun thugs with their fellow gun thug cronies. That's all the mayor is.
Really commented at 4/5/2010 9:53:00 PM:
good to hear from you again "J".
Perky commented at 4/5/2010 11:06:00 PM:
Time for both of them to be replaced.......................
They both could snap again (bad blood between the two)..... This could be our first warning.
TD commented at 4/5/2010 11:24:00 PM:
You forgot two words mayor -- I RESIGN
yosemite commented at 4/6/2010 12:38:00 AM:
Walter, What? What? This was the most rambling, garbled epistle ever.
seriously??! commented at 4/6/2010 9:06:00 AM:
@ Walter - With all due respect...LOL!!!! This is no Bruce Lee film. This is real life thug against thug. The only problem is, these thugs choose to make City Hall their war zone instead of the street. Was really hoping for a resignation. :(
Sallymae commented at 4/6/2010 10:22:00 AM:
Ok Walter what about those "two of the elected-officials I've come to respect most in the entire world" now?
SPEAK BOY SPEAK!!!
If you still feel this way about either of them then you just let the world know YOUR character as a human being.
BD commented at 4/6/2010 12:12:00 PM:
Gentlemen, respectfully- drop the charges that you have both filed against one another. You owe it to God, yourselves and those who look to you as the responsible leaders you were elected to be to put aside your differences, humble yourselves (not pride yourselves) and move forward. God is still on the throne and he forgives even when we are so puffed up with pride to the point that we can't forgive ourselves. Do the thing that is right, don't argue- as there is forgiveness in the blood that was shed on the Cross. Love ye one another as Christ loves us so much and wants us to do the right thing. Go in peace- showing LOVE- for LOVE is the greatest gift of all.
walter commented at 4/7/2010 4:28:00 PM:
It's not about either of the elected-officials; nor my comments or yours. It's about the City of Columbus. Even a finger, depending upon the person to whom it belongs and the proximity it is to the person it is being pointed at, coupled with certain words and body language, is more than enough provocation and a threat, to possibly justify the person, who is the object of the pointing, to react in his or her own self-defense. It doesn't matter if the pointing is directed at the mayor of a potentially great city like Columbus or the President of the United States. Personally. speaking of the President, it is good thing I wasn't President when that jackass called barack a liar during an internationally televised speech, I probably would have snatched a knot in his behind. But, of course, that's another story for another day.
What happened between mayor Smith and Councilman Karriem is no more than the accumulation of stress brought on by a persistent, ruthless, obstructionist faction, within and outside, the city whis hell bent on discrediting and derailing the efforts of two courageous and committed men of African descent. If you know your elementary history of the period immdiately following the civil war, then you would know that they will stop at nothing to stop the advance of a people, poorly educated, easily misled and too easy to deceive.
There isn't a soul, in all of Columbus, who is more qualified, courageous, honest, and committed than the two men being castigated right now. If you think there are, appoint or elect them. You'll see just how quickly they sell you and your offsprings out, either for a few pieces of silver, out of fear or because they believe the other man's ice is colder or his advice is sounder.
I can write clearly and directly. I'll show you.
1. Oktibbeha man dies in weekend wreck STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY
2. Jeb Bush to attend Egg Bowl STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY
3. Vasquez murder: Vasquez's family responds to Martinez's release COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
4. Carleton joins Oxford police force COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
5. Christmas festivities planned for downtown Columbus COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY