BLACKDUCK -- Rudy Patch resigned as mayor of Blackduck late Monday afternoon prior to a scheduled emergency meeting of the City Council.
The Council had originally planned the meeting for 6 p.m. on Monday to address a meme that Patch posted on his Facebook page over the weekend. That meeting was to be held at City Hall with a limit of 10 attendees because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Later it was rescheduled for Blackduck Wayside Park so that more people could attend.
But the meeting was canceled late in the afternoon when Patch submitted his letter of resignation.
Patch shared a meme on his Facebook page over the weekend that showed a blood-covered vehicle with the caption: "I don't know what you mean by protesters on the freeway. I came through no problem."
The post was later taken down, but captured screen shots of it were shared on other pages.
Council member Paige Moore has assumed the role of acting mayor. She is expected to be sworn in as mayor officially at the Council's June 8 meeting at City Hall.
"I'm just hoping to do the best job I can as mayor for the entire community," Moore said Monday night.
Patch's resignation leaves the Council with two open seats. In March, Tylor Roth resigned after serving four weeks, due to circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic.
In his letter, Patch wrote that he regretfully resigned and hoped that the City Council would put in place "some good racism training policies."
Here is the text of Patch's letter:
"I have been a city official for the past 8 years and try to look out for the best interest of the city. I have made a mistake by sharing a post without the correct context behind it. The post was in reference to a conversation I had the night before. I ran across this post the next day and wanted to share it with that person. I did not like the post. I did not see humor in the post. It was meant for the individual to recognize how bad it could be to drive through protesters. And also, if you are going to protest, to do so safely because this could happen.
"It is not and never had been my intention to support running over protesters. It is heartbreaking to have heard that protesters were run over. I am truly sorry for all parties involved.
"As a first responder, I take my job seriously. I try to save lives, not take them. I put my volunteer work and city work ahead of my family most of the time. I believe in protests and support them. Protests can, and do, send a strong message. I would like for everyone to work together as a team. I believe ALL lives matter. I would like to get training available to myself and anyone that has interest in learning more about racism, to make things better for our community and world.
"Social media can be used as a good tool for people to spread their messages. In this instance, it is a life lesson for me about how things put on social media can be mistaken without a context to back it up.
"In closing, I am accepting the responsibility for my mistake. I do not want my councilors to feel as though they need to defend my actions regarding this post. I hope we can all move forward and make this a more positive community in the future. I truly believe Blackduck is a great place for families. I feel that it is in the best interest of the City of Blackduck to resign.
"At this time I regretfully turn in my resignation, I truly hope that the council takes the time to put in place some good racism training policies."