Former Chesterfield Township, New Jersey committeeman Sam Davis, who lost his re-election bid to Shreekant Dhopte last November, apologized Feb. 26 for a racist rant in January, in which he accused the town’s Indian American residents of voting illegally.
“I’m asking for forgiveness, and it’s coming from my heart and nowhere else,” said Davis at a meeting organized by the local Quakers’ society and Dhopte. “The way I worded it was not good. There is no excuse for my behavior. I did not mean it to come out the way it did,” said the retired school teacher, as reported by The Inquirer.
Dhopte won the race by 117 votes.
“An Indian guy ran against me and he beat me by 116 votes,” said Davis in the middle of a long rant about “illegal immigrants” on Facebook Jan. 31. “I know for a fact that all the Indian people in Chesterfield voted for him and I also know that they are not United States citizens,” claimed Davis, adding that there was a $15,000 fine for voting illegally.
Davis said in his post that he had asked the Burlington County, New Jersey’s prosecutor’s office to investigate his assertion of voter fraud in the race.
Davis had served one term in office before he lost his re-election bid.
“This has made me feel so angry and disrespected,” Dhopte told India-West last month, characterizing the accusations against him and the small Indian American community in Chesterfield as “baseless.” (See earlier story: https://bit.ly/2BXXKmF)
Dhopte said he has not yet decided if he will file a lawsuit for libel against Davis. He noted that there were only 300 Indian Americans registered to vote in Chesterfield, and that he won with 1,157 votes to Davis’s 1043.
Burlington County Freeholder Balvinder Singh commented on Davis’s racist rant on his Facebook page: “As an immigrant myself and of Indian descent, I am heavily dismayed by this type of demeaning characterization purported by the former Republican Committeeman of Chesterfield.”
At the meeting, Singh said he was surprised that Davis was still pursuing his complaint with the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, despite his apology.
After apologizing, Davis shook hands and embraced Dhopte, and his voice cracked when he asked for his forgiveness. Dhopte nodded, and afterward said it was “time to move on.” He said that “it is the Indian way to forgive and accept an apology” when remorse is shown, as reported by The Inquirer.