Join the Metro Times Press Club: Because no news is bad news.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Longtime Harper Woods Mayor Kenneth Poynter resigns after 'white supremacist' remark

Posted By on Fri, Jul 31, 2020 at 2:15 PM

click to enlarge Mayor Kenneth Poynter. - CITY OF HARPER WOODS
  • City of Harper Woods
  • Mayor Kenneth Poynter.

Longtime Harper Woods Mayor Kenneth Poynter has resigned after he reportedly said that he understands why someone would become a white supremacist.

Poynter issued his letter of resignation Friday after activists and City Manager John Szymanski called for him to step down.

“We think it’s in the best interest of the city of Harper Woods that we move on under new leadership in order to maintain and enhance fundamental liberties and rights owed to everyone who comes and visits the city,” Harper Woods attorney John Gillooly tells Metro Times.

Gillooly added that the city accepted the resignation with a "great deal of sadness" because Poynter had "gone above and beyond" since he became mayor in 1997.

Poynter’s comments in a closed-door meeting on June 10 “do not reflect the values or beliefs of the administration or residents of the City of Harper Woods,” Szymanski said in a statement.

“As such, I have personally asked Mayor Poynter to immediately resign from office in order that we can move forward and work on maintaining and improving the quality of life for those who live and visit the City of Harper Woods.”

In the meeting last week, witnesses said Poynter was angry about demonstrators rallying outside his home last month after his wife ripped up a protest sign at a rally over the June 10 death of 38-year-old Priscilla Slater in police custody.

Poynter has declined to publicly discuss the remarks, but in a past interview with Metro Times, he denied being racist and said he was a member of the local chapter of the NAACP.

More than 58% of Harper Woods residents are Black.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

Tags: , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit