Rapid City, SD alderman apologizes for racist comments to TV reporter

Last August, KOTA-TV (Rapid City, SD) reporter Taisha Walker called Rapid City alderman Bill Clayton and asked how he planned to vote on a proposed property tax increase. He responded by asking her how she planned to vote in the presidential election, then making racist remarks.

Taisha Walker and Bill Clayton

Taisha Walker and Bill Clayton

“Should we deport you back to Kenya with Obama?” Walker says the alderman asked her. “Are you even American; are you American?” he also said.

The journalist filed a complaint against Clayton, and on Tuesday he finally apologized for what he said. He claims he doesn’t watch KOTA news and didn’t know that Walker was black.

He said at Tuesday’s council meeting:

I apologize to the KOTA reporter, I apologize to everybody on this council for any discord that I might have caused, I apologize to the city staff who had to spend their valuable time taking care of this, I apologize to the citizens of Rapid City.

Clayton added that he’s a different person than he was four months ago, and that he’s learned from this “baptism by fire.”

KOTA news director John Peterson tells me that Walker, who is “taking a few days off,” has “handled herself in the most professional manner in regard to what happened” and continued to cover the city council after her conversation with Clayton last August. “She’s a class act,” says the news boss, and she won’t have a problem covering Clayton fairly in the future.

* Councilman apologizes for remarks to black reporter (rapidcityjournal.com)
* Rapid City council member strives for “redemption” (kotatv.com)
* City leaders finally condemn alderman’s remarks to reporter (rapidcityjournal.com)
* KOTA reporter speaks about racist comments made by alderman (rapidcityjournal.com)