Upper Marlboro mayor says decision to resign not ‘because of any racism or bigotry'

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (FOX 5 DC) --The mayor of the small town of Upper Marlboro has officially announced her resignation. Mayor Tonga Turner was the first African-American mayor of Upper Marlboro.

On Wednesday, Turner announced to the media that she was resigning, but emphasized that her decision to step down was not "because of any racism or bigotry."

Flanked by Upper Marlboro's police chief, her spokesman and other members of her staff, Turner stood before a throng of T.V. cameras to announce that she was stepping down from the position she has held since January 2018 and resigning as mayor next Friday.

Turner -- the town's first black mayor in Upper Marlboro's more than 300-year history was clear -- her decision was made not because of racism or bigotry despite reports to the contrary.

With two small children under the age of 10, she said the decision was reached after prayer and discussion with her family.

"It was never my intention to give the public the impression that I was pushed out or scared into leaving my role a role that I so desperately loved that is simply not true anyone that knows me knows that I'm a fighter no one of any color of any race of any ethnicity is ever going to scare me into doing anything," said Turner. "So yes, I chose family over service and I'm not sorry about making that decision."

Turner chose not to discuss the details of reported episodes of racism where she was targeted by name calling and property damage to her vehicle and said, whereas issues do exist, those issues are not unique to Upper Marlboro and she would not further feed into that narrative.

Turner said she had been toying with her decision for several months now.