‘I did the wrong thing.’ Plainfield official accused of making offensive comments about displaced residents apologizes
A Plainfield Planning Board member is being accused of making offensive comments toward those who were recently forced out of their homes – now a petition is calling for the city employee to step down.
As protesters confronted Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp at the Queen City Street Fair, Plainfield Planning Board member Carmencita Pile streamed the event live on her Facebook page.
Pile could be heard on her Facebook Live making what sounded like derogatory statements toward those protesting the loss of their homes after their building was recently condemned.
In the video, Pile can be heard saying “All you need is an ICE truck, and they'll be running.”
News 12 New Jersey spoke with Pile, and she confirmed those were her comments on the Facebook live stream during Saturday's Queen City Street Fair. She says her comments were taken out of context. Pile also offered an apology to anyone she offended.
“I did the wrong thing and I apologize,” Pile told News 12.
She says that her cellphone was zoomed in on the displaced tenants while she was asking “are you documented” repeatedly. She said she was never in anyone’s face.
Pile says she has been and will continue to be an advocate for Plainfield's Latino community.
Meanwhile, Mapp released a statement on Pile's comments and said it is the right of every resident to protest peacefully. He says he encourages and supports any action that promotes democracy and freedom of speech.
"Regarding the remarks about the protesting group, I want to make it clear that neither my administration nor I condone the statements or behavior of any city employee who appears to be insensitive to the plight of any resident, documented or not," Mapp said. "I take significant exception to anyone making fun of the immigration status of residents who need our support and compassion during this challenging time. Furthermore, I condemn this employee's careless words that have caused so much pain to our residents, who are already suffering."
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Mapp continued to say in his statement, "I, too, am an immigrant to this country, and my mother worked very hard as a domestic to provide a pathway to immigration for my siblings and me. She endured many hardships and challenges and was also an undocumented resident for many years. I understand the pain of being an outsider trying to integrate and being ostracized just for being different. Therefore, I take personal umbrage to any denigrating remarks directed at those trying to make a better life for themselves and their families here in the United States."
Plainfield Councilman Richard Wyatt spoke on the matter and said, “This is not the first time I’ve seen her act in this manner. I was not surprised when I did see the video, I was more so disheartened.”
Sean McKenna, another Plainfield councilman, says “She’s making decisions that affects everybody in town regarding development. And what’s the issue we’re dealing with right now? Developments.”
There is a petition with more than 350 signatures to remove Pile from her positions on the HOPES CAP Board, Plainfield Planning Board, and the Plainfield Democratic City Committee.
Mapp says Plainfield is a city that is proud of its diversity and has "long been a fair and welcoming city to everyone, especially its immigrant community."
"We stand in solidarity with the condemned buildings' previous tenants and everyone whom unscrupulous landlords victimize. In partnership with the State, County, and nonprofit agencies, my administration will continue to provide resources to everyone who needs our help during these very difficult and challenging times," Mapp said.
Pile also issued a full apology on her Facebook page. The full statement can be read here.