NORTH YORK, Pa. -- A Pennsylvania borough councilwoman who told a volunteer firefighter she’d beat him over the head with his prosthetic leg says she was only joking -- but is resigning nonetheless.
North York Councilwoman Sandra Hinkle told The Associated Press on Thursday that the controversy prompting her resignation is a “blessing in disguise” because she’s tired of infighting and other contentious issues on the council.
The York Daily Record first reported that the firefighter, Christopher Wilhelm, had begun circulating a petition calling for Hinkle to resign after arguing with her at Tuesday’s council meeting. That happened after Wilhelm recorded an eight-minute Facebook Live video at the meeting on the borough’s budget, which Wilhelm said he was trying to publicize for residents who couldn’t attend.
“If that (video) goes on YouTube or Facebook, I will take your leg off and beat you with it,” Wilhelm told the newspaper, quoting Hinkle. Wilhelm lost his leg to cancer in 2010.
“Her comments were very rude, very disrespectful,” Wilhelm told the paper. “You’re labeling a type of person when you say you’ll take their leg off and beat them with it. It’s a discriminatory comment ... I think she needs to resign.
Hinkle told the AP that she had previously been involved with the fire company as a trustee and a fire police officer, and contends her joking threat stemmed from a long-running joke among firefighters about Wilhelm’s condition.
Hinkle, 66, acknowledged she didn’t like being recorded, but recognizes Wilhelm had a right to do so. She has a disabled grandchild and said she’d never seriously threaten a disabled person.