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Casper Mayor apologizes for posting a fire animation following the opening of a clinic that offers abortions

 Casper Mayor Bruce Knell
City of Casper, Wyoming
Casper Mayor Bruce Knell apologizes for his comment on an article about the opening of a clinic that provides abortions in the community.

The Mayor of Casper has apologized for an animation that he posted in response to a story about the Wellspring Health Clinic that provides abortions opening its doors. Many took his comment as invoking violence to a business that was torched last spring.

In late April, the clinic opened its doors after an arsonist set it on fire last spring. In response to an Oil City News story about it, the mayor posted a picture of a man dancing around a fire. Oil City News deleted the post per internal policy.

He immediately received push back, but he still stood firmly on his opinion that those who kill unborn babies will go to hell, which he said is what he was trying to express with the animation.

During Tuesday’s regularly scheduled city council meeting, the public took an hour to comment on the mayor’s actions. The public had differing viewpoints. Some stood by the mayor, while others said it was unnecessarily violent, especially from an elected official. Some simply wished he had chosen his words more carefully.

Casper resident Holly Thompson, a board member of the clinic, said the mayor's comments were careless and cruel.

“This isn’t about abortion, it's about violence,” Thompson said. “No matter how you may feel personally about abortion, nobody has the right to burn down a building because of it. To joke about it in any way is in poor taste and minimizes real-world violence.”

After the public spoke, the mayor apologized with emotion for the way his comment was misinterpreted and said that he didn’t mean to hurt anyone.

“I did not mean in any way for that to hurt anyone in any way,” Knell said emotionally. “I would never do anything to incite violence in our city. I would never do anything to incite violence on anyone.”

But he still stood his ground on his opinion. Wellspring Health Access has been open for over a couple of weeks and is operating normally.

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
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