Khan said in a phone interview on Thursday that the crowd was rowdy before the meeting even began because some of them had attended a political rally held outside the venue. “The anger was already palpable,” he told NBC News. “By the time I was asked to come to the podium, the train had left the station and it was only going to go one way.”
Khan detailed what happened at the meeting in a letter to Council Chairwoman Rita Days, who was in attendance. As tensions escalated during the meeting, people in the crowd began to mock Khan’s accent, he wrote in his letter. When he asked Days to intervene, she instead “lectured me,” he said.
Khan wrote in his letter that during the meeting Fitch’s friend Mark McCloskey posted on social media that mask mandates are “un-American.” Khan told Days that he believes Fitch and McCloskey’s actions were an attempt to “stoke xenophobia against me.” Khan said things turned hostile when he left the chamber.
Khan, who said he became a U.S. citizen in 2013, wrote that Fitch should have known most of the people in the crowd were “from the ‘MAGA’ movement” because they kept chanting “Trump 2024.” “My time before the Council began with a dog-whistle question from Councilman Tim Fitch, who said he wanted to emphasize for the assembled crowd that I was not from this country,” he wrote in the letter.
— Abby Llorico (@AbbyLlorico) July 29, 2021 I spoke with Dr. Faisal Khan, acting St. Louis County Health Director, earlier this afternoon. Here’s what he had to say about “flipping the bird” and how he felt walking out of that meeting. pic.twitter.com/eR3lfFtXFG
He wrote that he was not sorry for giving the person the middle finger. Khan told NBC News that he asked a security guard to walk with him toward the elevator because he was so frightened. He has since requested security detail, he said. “On more than one occasion, I was shoulder-bumped and pushed,” he wrote in the letter. “As I approached the exit and immediately outside the chambers, I became surrounded by the crowd in close quarters, where members of the crowd yelled at me, calling me a ‘fat brown c—‘ and a ‘brown b——. After being physically assaulted, called racist slurs, and surrounded by an angry mob, I expressed my displeasure by using my middle finger toward an individual who had physically threatened me and called me racist slurs.”
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