Lancaster mayor blasted for 'gang candidate' claim

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Updated: 3/20 9:00 pm

LANCASTER, Calif. (AP) — The mayor of Lancaster is taking heat for labeling a black City Council hopeful a "gang candidate."

Mayor R. Rex Parris told the Antelope Valley Press Wednesday that he stands by remarks he made in the mailer, which backs two incumbents.

The mailer criticizes candidate Johnathon Ervin for helping organize a 2102 demonstration against the shooting of black Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

It says a demonstrator called local sheriff's deputies "murderers and thugs" and also claims that if elected to the council, Ervin would pass on gang-fighting information to friends.

Ervin, an Air Force veteran and aerospace engineer with a secret clearance, said Thursday that he's never been involved in gangs. He calls the mailer disgusting, dirty politics and says he'd like an apology.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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