Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts calls black leaders ‘you people,' apologizes


An Omaha pastor said he walked out of a meeting Monday when Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts used the phrase, “The problem I have with you people,” while addressing black community leaders.

The Ricketts family owns the Cubs, but Pete Ricketts stepped down from the Board of Directors when he took office.

“I chose my words poorly,” Ricketts said in a statement, “and apologized when it became apparent that I had caused offense.”

He also went on a local radio station, 95.7 The Boss, on Tuesday morning to apologize.

Pastor Jarrod Parker of St. Mark Baptist Church posted a live video to Facebook Monday evening, recounting the interaction. Black community leaders met with Ricketts, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert and Police Chief Todd Schmaderer after several nights of protests.

James Scurlock, a 22-year-old black man, was fatally shot by a white bar owner over the weekend. No charges were filed. In a press conference, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine called Scurlock’s death “senseless” but said the bar owner had justification for use of force.

“I put context to the issues surrounding the systematic racism that produced (Scurlock’s death),” Parker said of the meeting Monday “… I walked out on Governor Rickets as he called us, ‘you people.’ Make this go viral. He called black pastors and black leaders in Omaha ‘you people.’ And I walked out on him.

“That’s why this city is going to go up in flames Mrs. Mayor and Mr. Chief. You’re not listening, and you can’t listen because at the top of the state is a racist governor.”

Protests against social injustice and police brutality have spread across the country, in response to George Floyd’s death in police custody. The four officers involved were fired. One of them, Derek Chauvin, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.

“The Cubs condemn racism in all its forms and decry violence against members of the Black community,” the team said in a statement Tuesday. “Bias and discrimination have no place in our society. We support peaceful protests and pledge to channel our energies to rebuilding our city, especially the disenfranchised neighborhoods, as a way to build a stronger Chicago. By our example we hope to build bridges and elevate the issue of equality for all members of society.”

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