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Mayor Jacobs responds to divisive video exposing fear among Knox Co. Board of Health members

The video created by Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs was leaked online.
Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 9:58 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2020 at 12:34 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs addressed a divisive video called “inappropriate and dangerous” Wednesday night during the Knox County Board of Health meeting and sparked members to express concerns about their safety.

The video, created by Mayor Jacobs was leaked online. Jacobs said he “feels terrible that the Health Department got caught in the political crossfire," but he stands by what he said in the video.

Jacobs said he has publically praised Dr. Martha Buchannan and the Knox County Health Department numerous times. Jacobs advised Knox County residents not to take their anger out KCHD employees or members of the Board of Health and instead “do something constructive and direct their attention to the state Legislature.”

Mayor Jacob’s office said the video, “was not intended to put people in harm’s way."

“Today this foundation is once again, under attack...Not from some enemy abroad; sinister forces within. Unelected bureaucrats who pass down edicts that carry the force of law with no accountability and no recourse,” Jacobs can be heard saying in the video which showed the faces of the members of the Board of Health.

Several members of the Knox County Board of Health spoke out to let Jacobs know they found the video troubling.

“I saw this video. It disturbed me. It disheartened me. It hurt. We are volunteers here. We ARE the people. We’re part of the people. And as a military officer who has sworn to defend this country, I felt threatened by what I saw,” said Patrick O’Brien.

Recent hate directed toward the board of health had already given them cause for concern.

“My grown children begged me to start using an alarm system,” said Maria Hurt.

“I’ve personally been encouraged by a number of people to resign from the board because of safety concerns," said another member.

Mayor Jacobs eventually apologized for the video, saying he did not believe the people on the board are the problem, but rather the powers bestowed upon them.

“I do apologize if anyone felt threatened...I can’t apologize for my sentiments because that’s how I feel. There has to be some sort of balance and check to that, and it should be county commission.”

The intense moments come just days after the Knox County Commission approved a resolution to consider rescinding some of the Board of Health’s powers, but some board members may not be present for the vote next week.

“I honestly don’t feel safe enough to go," one member said.

Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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