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Complaints filed against South Bend councilman for graphic Facebook post

By Annie Chang
Published On: Jan 29 2014 04:55:50 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 30 2014 09:12:30 AM CST

South Bend Common Council President Oliver Davis reacts to the controversy surrounding council member Henry Davis, Jr. and an obscene Facebook post.

SOUTH BEND -

Eight formal complaints were filed Wednesday with South Bend City Clerk John Voorde against City Councilman Henry Davis, Jr., following an inappropriate Facebook post involving a photo of a naked man and a dog.

A group of seven of Davis' constituents filed their complaints at the same time. Their complaint reads in part, "The posting on Facebook is obscene, against public decency, and shows a total lack of professionalism and regard for his position and expectations for the people of South Bend."

A separate person who does not live in the second district filed a later complaint.

Now, it's up to the council's Rules Committee to decide what happens next. The committee is made up of four Council members: Valerie Schey, David Varner, Fred Ferlic and Council President Oliver Davis.

They could choose not to take any action at all. If they do decide to reprimand Davis, there's a wide range of options.

"On the low end, a private reprimand," said Voorde, "to a public reprimand, to a request that the council member resign, to a council vote."

Maurice McGee, who filed a complaint Wednesday, said he no longer considers Davis his councilman.

"Personally, I don't consider myself a constituent," McGee said. "Because a constituent would mean I authorize him to act on my behalf. I don't."

Becky Kaiser, a grassroots leader and organizer of Wednesday's complaint filings, said she does not have anything personal against Davis but would file a complaint against any of the members if they had posted something so obscene.

"Ethics are ethics and morals are morals," Kaiser said.

COUNCIL PRESIDENT REACTS

South Bend Common Council President Oliver Davis held a news conference Wednesday night to react to the controversy surrounding Henry Davis, Jr.

Oliver Davis said while the complaints are serious, the Common Council can multi-task on running the city without this issue becoming a distraction.

"It's a huge issue, but it's not huge enough for us to distract ourselves from the other issues that we are doing in South Bend, and I want that to be very clear."

Oliver Davis says a rules committee will be formed to hear the complaints as soon as possible.

HENRY DAVIS, JR. STATEMENT

Davis did apologize on his Facebook page for possibly offending anyone with the post, after the controversy broke out.

He sent WSBT this statement on Wednesday:

This situation has detracted from conversations about making our city great for every resident. As your 2nd District Common Councilman, I remain committed to serving and working diligently to address the disparities that exist in our great city, the high unemployment rate, and the loss of neighborhood schools on the west side. I will continue to work hard to ensure that every neighborhood in the city is equitably resourced. I look forward to continuing to serve the constituents of the 2nd District and the entire City of South Bend.
--Councilman Henry Davis, Jr.