Kalyn Chapman James, the first black Miss Alabama, has been placed on administrative leave from her job at South Florida PBS station WPBT2 after posting a video in which she called Dallas sniper Micah Xavier Johnson a “martyr.”
“I’m dealing with a bit of guilt, because I don’t feel sad for the officers that lost their lives — and I know that that’s really not my heart,” James said in a video made Sunday via Facebook Live, referencing the five Dallas police officers shot and killed by Johnson at a demonstration against police brutality.
“I value human life and I want to feel sad for them, but I can’t help but feeling like the shooter was a martyr — and I know it’s not the right way to feel because nobody deserves to lose their lives, and I know that those police officers had families and people who loved them,” she said.
“I’m so torn up in my heart about seeing these … black men being gunned down in my community that I can’t help but feel like I wasn’t surprised what the shooter did to those cops,” she added. “And I think a lot of us feel the same way.”
Johnson’s sniper attack, which also injured seven other officers and two civilians, followed high-profile shootings of African American men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota.
James was named Miss Alabama in 1993 and finished in the top 10 at 1994’s Miss America competition. She has since worked as a model and TV host.
Watch James’ full thoughts via the video above. James is an independent contractor for the local TV station.
Here’s WPBT2’s official statement, in which they do not mention James by name:
WPBT2's statement regarding comments made by one of its contractors surrounding the tragic events in Dallas. pic.twitter.com/WCDvVq0eOi
— WPBT2 (@WPBT2) July 11, 2016