Council candidate connected to rally

This year’s race for Waterville City Council received some unexpected publicity that started with a group of picketers and ended on YouTube.

On Tuesday, Sept. 2, the Morning Sentinel reported on a small rally at the intersection of Main and Elm Streets by Post Office Square that began on Monday, Sept. 1.

Picketers distributed fliers and held printed signs with phrases such as “Innocent until proven guilty,” “Support our police: Pray for peace” and “No vigilante justice: Know the facts!” in response to the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri on Aug. 9. Brown’s death has sparked protests, federal investigations and a nationwide debate on race and the police.

According to the Morning Sentinel, picketers declined to say who organized the rally, but identified the person as a friend of theirs.

Two days later, Waterville City Council candidate Jibryne Karter III released a YouTube video in which he identified himself as the rally organizer and explained his reasoning for remaining anonymous. Karter released the video in direct response to the article in the Morning Sentinel.

In the four-minute-long YouTube address, Karter states that, “The purpose of this demonstration was to promote our right to be innocent until proven guilty. Officer Wilson has not yet had a trial and the facts are not all known. Doesn’t Officer Wilson deserve the same kind of rights we all enjoy as Americans?”

The video, called “Ferguson rally organizer goes on record,” has about 200 views. According to his YouTube profile, Karter has had a YouTube channel since 2007 and currently has ten subscribers.

“According to accurate sources, Brown not only initiated the attack on officer Wilson, but tried to take his gun from him,” Karter said in the video. Later in the video, he said, “It is the courts that will help present us the facts and that is when we will know when Michael Brown is a victim or a vigilante,” he said.

In response to the question of why he remained anonymous in organizing the rally, Karter said, “the fact is that I did not want to take away from the message. I wanted to avoid appearing as if I was using this as an opportunity to gain campaign awareness for my running for city council…In the end, by not being present though, it appears that I have made the story more about who’s behind this rather than remembering what the event was actually about.”

The City Council is Waterville’s governing board. The Council is made up of seven members. Karter is running against incumbent Dana Bushee to represent Ward 6 in the Nov. 4 election.

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