Press release from Town is Sylva:
The purpose of this statement is to provide information about an incident that occurred today during our Town of Sylva Board of Commissioners meeting. Due to our governor’s COVID-19 executive order, this meeting was held electronically. Like most municipalities, we switched to this platform to maintain complete transparency and still comply with all recommended and ordered public health guidelines. This method has worked quite well for our meetings, until today.
The scheduled 9:00 am meeting began well but was soon digitally hijacked away from town staff’s control. Attendees video feeds were replaced with other images and multiple voices could be heard using vile and unacceptable language, largely comprised of racial slurs. Town staff was unable to mute the voices. Our Town Board of Commissioners made the decision to recess the meeting to determine if the meeting could continue the digital platform. Since the digital platform had been compromised, town staff conferred with legal counsel to consider all appropriate options to move forward with the meeting. Mayor Sossamon reconvened the meeting and a motion was made to call a special meeting on Monday, July 27th, 2020, at 5:30pm. The meeting will be held via Zoom. In a statement, Sylva’s Mayor Lynda Sossamon stated “Our meetings are open to the public however we do not and will not tolerate abusive behavior. I apologize to all that were on the call to conduct town business.” Today’s meeting was then adjourned by the Board because the digital compromise.
Within minutes, our police department contacted the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to assist in a criminal investigation. The goal of this investigation will be to identify the persons responsible for this and apply all applicable criminal charges.
If anyone has any information about the persons responsible for this, please call the Sylva Police Department or Jackson County Communications Center at 828-586-1911.