A Democratic state lawmaker accused of repeatedly using a racial slur to intimidate a young Black man in New Hampshire has apologized.
Rep. Nicole Klein-Knight, of Manchester, was removed from the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Jan. 31 at the request of Democratic leaders after a dozen Black, brown and Indigenous community organizers issued a letter condemning her.
The group said Klein-Knight accosted Jonah Wheeler, a young Black organizer, after he testified on a bill, using a racial slur multiple times to make her point. In an email to Wheeler on Tuesday, she said she realized “it was wrong for me to use the racist slur that you said.”
“I immediately regretted it, and agree that no one should be using that language, and I apologize from the bottom of my heart for the pain it has caused,” she wrote. “If you ever want to have a discussion with me about this I will be more than happy to do so, don’t hesitate to reach out.”
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Klein-Knight, who is in her second term, also said she had been advised to remain silent until House officials completed their inquiry of Wheeler’s ethics complaint.
“I feel badly for those that are so quick to judge and jump to conclusions without any evidence or full factual investigations,” she said on Twitter Tuesday evening.
Wheeler said Tuesday night he does not accept Klein-Knight’s email as an apology.
“What was needed was a sincere public apology, not one that deflects blame. One that sincerely communicates empathy, remorse, regret, and a promise to learn from one’s mistakes,” he said in an email to The Associated Press. “Representative Knight, unfortunately, continues to make matters worse.”