Former Miss Alabama Kalyn Chapman James called the man who shot and killed five Dallas police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas on Thursday a “martyr” in a live Facebook broadcast.
“I don’t feel sad for the officers who lost their lives, and I know that’s not really my heart,” James said in an emotional message posted on Sunday.
“I want to feel sad for them but I can’t help but feeling like the shooter was a martyr and I know it’s not the right way to feel cause nobody deserves to lose their lives,” she said of the five Dallas law enforcement officers that were ambushed and murdered by Houston New Black Panther Party member Micah X. Johnson.
“I’m so torn up in my heart about seeing these men, these black men, being gunned down in our community,” James said of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, whose police-involved deaths last week sparked Black Lives Matter protests and violent attacks against law enforcement officers around the country.
“I wasn’t surprised by what the shooter did to those cops and I think a lot of us feel the same way and I know it’s not right and I definitely don’t condone violence against innocent people,” James said.
James, who became the first African-American Miss Alabama in 1993 and currently works as a TV host for Miami station WPBT2, says her video stirred backlash from her employer.
In a statement, the station said it does “not condone the personal statements made by one of its independent contractors regarding the events in Dallas.”
Without naming James specifically, the release said that a contractor had been placed on “administrative leave while [the media company] actively and carefully looks further into the matter and will determine additional course of actions based on its thorough review of the matter.”
WPBT2's statement regarding comments made by one of its contractors surrounding the tragic events in Dallas. pic.twitter.com/WCDvVq0eOi
— WPBT2 (@WPBT2) July 11, 2016
Miss Alabama pageant organizers also distanced themselves from James.
“Kalyn Chapman James was Miss Alabama 23 years ago in 1993,” a Miss Alabama statement said, according to AL.com. “The opinions she expressed are her own, and do not represent the viewpoint of the current Miss Alabama or the Miss Alabama Organization. We have nothing but the utmost respect and appreciation for the men and women of law enforcement, and would never condone violence of any kind.”
James has since apologized to those offended by her comments.
“I apologize to anyone who was offended by my comments — my heart was not filled with hate,” she told WPMI on Monday.