AVERY COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) – Avery County Coroner John Millan will tell you he is no fan of the Black Lives Matter movement, and he was disgusted with what he saw unfolding in Charlotte last week when riots and protests broke out after a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott.
“I’ve had some outspoken discord with some of the things Black Lives Matter have said,” Millan told WBTV. “I will state for the record I was a 30-year police officer, retired cop. I think that any police officer that violates the law or breaks the standards of conduct should be held accountable, disciplined, terminated, de-certified, prosecuted – whatever it merits. And at the same time I wish that people that are sympathetic to Black Lives Matter would step back and realized that most of these shootings, they’re unfortunate but they’re justified.”
Millan continued, “And my problem with Black Lives Matter fundamentally – I’ve said this on the Internet – is that they tend to have the same level of outrage for a clearly justified shooting as they would the ones that are not justified.”
Millan’s Facebook page has several postings about what happened in Charlotte. The language caught some people’s attention, who wondered why an elected official was writing inflammatory posts. Some saw it as racist.
In one post, Charlotte protesters were called “cockroaches,” “trash heap,” “human vermin,” “terrorists no different than ISIS,” “feral predators,” “cannibalistic deviants,” and “amoral sociopathic savages who are vile, sick, evil scum.”
“I got hacked,” Millan said, explaining he has about 3,000 friends and that “if a post goes on there – it gets buried very quickly and pushed to the back.”
Millan, who said he’s been the county’s coroner for nine years, said, “I don’t currently have a functioning computer at my house. I logged on at a public venue several days prior to all this happening and I think somebody either got in there or managed to hack it.”
Millan conceded he has had posts in the past that drew strong criticism for his language, but he said “not to this degree.”
Asked whether it’s possible someone thought it would be OK to post it on his page because of his prior history, Millan said, “It could be. Like I said, I have been outspoken that I had a problem with Black Lives Matter.”
Millan is speaking about a previous incident.
“I made the comment… and I said the protesters in Minneapolis were savages, and calling to burn down the suburbs, and trash their own neighborhoods and point guns at people,” Millan said. “And I clarified, the word ‘savage’ means ‘prone to extreme violence.’”
Millan said he doesn’t have a problem with black people.
“I truly believe, and the statistics bear it out, 99.5% of police contacts in the U.S. go down without incident, and there’s an extremely high rate of violence in the African American community within itself, and I think if we’re going to hold the police accountable for a tiny fraction of mostly justified shootings there should be even more scrutiny in the black community. And that’s been something I think has rubbed people the wrong way.”
While Millan insists he didn’t write all the posts on his page about what happened in Charlotte, he admits he did have some commentary but couldn’t remember specific wording.
“Just tracking the news, telling the people, ‘if you’re in Charlotte stay indoors, stay off the interstates.’ I said if it’s scary that people are getting potentially mugged in their cars. I feel bad for the police.”
“A number [of posts] didn’t read the way I put them,” he said. “Basically my concern was that property was being damaged, that lives were endangered, one person lost his life. I felt it was a highly inappropriate and illegal way to be handle this – wearing masks. I put people should do whatever it takes to get out of there.”
Millan said he “spent two hours the other day deleting posts and responding to people who contacted me in a civil manner and deleting posts from people that made threatening remarks.”
When WBTV checked his Facebook page Friday afternoon, some of the controversial posts were still there.
“I’ll apologize that it happened,” Millan said. “I can’t apologize for something I didn’t do, but I would definitely keep my Facebook under more scrutiny now.”