Alabama Secretary of State facing criticism over social media exchange with Huntsville man

Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill is facing criticism for an insult-filled exchange through Facebook with a Huntsville man this weekend.

This comes after several social justice groups said that John Merrill retweeted content that was racially insensitive and promoted violence.

Michael Richard, 51, started the exchange Friday night with a message to Merrill saying, “you’re an embarrassment to the state.”

Richard told AL.com he was referring to Merrill’s retweet that referred to “Black Lives Matter’s war on whites” and a second retweet that said, “when patriots decide it’s time to fight back it’s gonna be ugly.”

Richard spoke with AL.com and said that he was trolling the secretary, and Merrill said he should have just deleted Richard’s message or ignored it.

Merrill said, “The frustration that I feel from so many different people trying to put their stamp on statements that I’ve made or things that I’ve been a part of, it’s extraordinarily frustrating.”

More than a dozen local justice groups wrote a letter to Merrill addressing his social media activity.

They are hoping to hold a press conference Tuesday at noon, during which they hope Merrill will join and address the situation.

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