GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The chief of the Kent County Health Department says someone tried to run him off the highway hours after he issued a mask mandate for schools.
Administrative Health Officer Adam London informed Kent County commissioners of the incident in an Aug. 22 email (PDF), going on to say he needs help. His tone was sad and defeated.
“I had a woman try to run me off the highway at 70+ miles per hour… twice, on Friday night,” he wrote.
A week earlier, he added, someone yelled at him, “Hey mother——, I hope someone abuses your kids and forces you to watch!”
London’s Aug. 20 order requiring masks in all preschool through sixth grade schools in the county raised strong feelings, particularly among those who opposed it. They unleashed their ire during a county commission meeting the week after it was issued, even though the board made it clear it could not and would not overrule London.
London did not appear in person at that meeting, instead attending virtually. He is no longer making any public appearances because of concerns of violence.
London sent his email to commissioners before the meeting, two days after his order.
“To be honest, my health, my family, and now our safety have paid a price for my work over the past year and a half. I want you to know that I will not needlessly expose myself (or my family for that matter) to the brute mob hatred that is crudely evident in a vocal and energized minority,” London wrote.
He said in the email that people who have never met him have leveled dramatic accusations at him, “…calling me a traitor to our nation and liberty who must be stopped at all costs.”
“Really?” he questioned. “I’m the grandson of two WWII heroes, the son and stepson of men who served during Vietnam, and the brother of a soldier who served in Afghanistan. We proudly wave the flag at my house and in my office. Faith, Family, and Country.”
“I need help. My team and I are broken,” the email concludes. “I’m about done. I’ve done my job to the best of my ability. I’ve given just about everything to Kent County, and now I’ve given some more of my safety. “
Two of four Republican state legislators who have threatened to pull funding from the health department because of the mask mandate are now speaking out against the threats directed at London.
“Violence, and threats of violence, against public officials are unacceptable in civil society,” Rep. Mark Huizenga, R-Walker, said in a statement. “I completely and utterly denounce either being harbored against Dr. London, or any public official for that matter. Kent County is better than that. Those who commit these unjustifiable acts do nothing but hurt the cause they claim to represent.”
“There is no place for violence in this discussion. The issue of masks in schools is an emotional one for families with kids, but everyone involved should make their feelings known peacefully and respectfully. I condemn any violence, or threats of it, directed at Director London or anyone else for that matter,” Rep. Thomas Albert, R-Lowell, stated.
Kent County Board of Commissioners Chair Mandy Bolter also condemned the threats in a statement:
“As a large and diverse County, we will not agree on every issue. However, we are one community and we should hold ourselves to the highest standard of public discourse.
“Threats of violence against any resident or County employee is, without question, unacceptable and should be immediately reported to the proper authorities.”
London summed up the actions against him by saying, “There is a sickness in America more far more insidious than COVID.”