Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Mayor Dean Trantalis rushed to judgement on the deadly crash at a pride parade on Saturday before facts indicated an accident, calling it a “terrorist attack on the LGBT community.”
Rather than waiting for an investigation of the crash that killed one member of the Gay Men’s Chorus Family and injured two others, Trantalis immediately pushed his progressive narrative.
In a video at the Florida city event on Saturday, the Democrat mayor said that the crash was “hardly an accident.”
“It was deliberate, it was premeditated, and it was targeted against a specific person,” Trantalis said.
As the investigation unfolded, it became clear that the unfortunate event was an accident, as both the driver and victim were members of the Gay Men’s Chorus Family. Even the president of the group Justin Knight waited for the facts before making a comment.
“To my knowledge, this was not an attack on the LGBTQ community,” Knight said in a statement on Sunday, according to News4Jax.
Trantalis, the city’s first openly gay mayor, later acknowledged that the crash was not a targeted attack against the gay community, though he never apologized for making a premature judgement of the situation.
“As the facts continue to be pieced together, a picture is emerging of an accident in which a truck careened out of control,” he said in a statement posted to Twitter on Sunday.
News4Jax also reported that police and the FBI are conducting an investigation, though no arrests have yet been made.
Trantalis’ weak walk-back of his false characterization of the crash has been met with calls for a public apology.
Former New York Police Department (NYPD) officer John Cardillo tweeted that Trantalis “needs to publicly retract and apologize.”
Florida-based radio host Grant Stern joined Cardillo in calling out Trantalis’ rapid-fire judgement, Fox News reported.
“If the Mayor had waited even 15 minutes,” he tweeted, “then he could’ve made a reasoned statement.”
If the Mayor had waited even 15 minutes, then he could've made a reasoned statement. Video of the arrest showed the driver wearing a gay men's chorus t-shirt, which was more than enough to sew reasonable doubt about the intent of the driver.— Grant Stern is fully vaccinated (@grantstern) June 20, 2021