RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)– A Richmond councilperson is dealing with criticism online after responding to a tweet from a resident about a public safety concern.
Daniel Wagner who goes by the username, ‘@dwagsRVA,’ posted the tweet on Nov. 7, and it was directed to Virginia Commonwealth University, the City of Richmond, and the Department of Public Works. He mentioned that a truck was blocking a sidewalk on campus on Harrison and Cumberland streets, and it was forcing students to walk in the road during rush hour.
Councilwoman Ann-Frances Lambert, who represents the 3rd voter district, responded to the tweet.
“Ask them to move their vehicle politely if it bothers you💥💥💥the reality is people are not applying to become cops this includes our region. So do your part and call the non-emergency number 646-5100. Take your chances on being a #Karen here in #RealRichmond 💥 #StayWoke”Ann-Frances Lambert, 3rd district representative on Richmond City Council
Wagner responded, “To call this response insensitive would be generous. It is more accurately dangerous. Keep it to yourself.”
Samantha Wilkes is a Richmond resident and responded to Lambert’s tweet.
Wilkes told 8News she was ‘shocked that a public servant and elected official responded so dismissively.’
Wilkes believes the comment was ‘inappropriate.’ She said that a “Karen” is someone who impedes on other people existing but that was not the case here and it wasn’t said in the proper context. Wilkes also mentioned that the tweet wasn’t directed at Lambert.
“When you’re elected by your community to represent that community, you take on the responsibility to act with grace. Dismissing concerns of citizens and members in the community doesn’t display what Richmond is about,” Wilkes said.
One Twitter user wrote to 8News, “Lambert’s tweet misunderstood the scale and seriousness of the problem.”
According to Wilkes, pedestrian safety should be top of mind with recent deaths in the city. Wilkes lives near Chamberlayne Avenue, where a man was killed by a street sweeper last month.
Reva Trammell represents the 8th district on City Council. Trammell is also the chairperson of Public Safety. 8News reached out to Trammell and asked if she had seen the tweet, she hadn’t and was unaware.
However, she believes that Wagner did the right thing by trying to bring attention to the problem and said speeding is a problem that needs to be addressed throughout the city.
“Whoever that person was, I just want to say thank you,” Trammell said. “If a vehicle is on the sidewalk and blocking somebody from walking, the sidewalk belongs to the citizens. It doesn’t belong to that car.”
8News reached out to Michael Jones, who represents the 9th district on City Council.
“My job is to hear my constituents and serve the residents of Richmond,” Jones said. “We owe them a certain level of my job is to hear my constituents and serve the residents of Richmond. we owe them a certain level of professionalism.”
Trammell advises other residents who run into a similar situation to act.
“I would call 911,” Trammell said. “That is a public safety issue, especially if it’s on a sidewalk.”
8News has reached out to Councilwoman Lambert for a comment.