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Group responds to Sherow message

By The Mercury

Officials of Our Manhattan, a local political advocacy group, said Thursday that their group had nothing to do with a recent confrontation between City Commissioner Jim Sherow and an unnamed local citizen.

Rob Friesen, treasurer for Our Manhattan, issued a statement saying that the group has identified the individual who had the confrontation with Sherow, and emphasized that “this individual is not, nor has he ever been, a member of Our Manhattan.”

Our Manhattan president John Ford also said that the group “in no way, shape or form” condones the sort of confrontational tactic used by the individual in question.

Sherow described the incident in an e-mail that was reprinted as part of an “I Wonder” column published in Monday’s Mercury. That incident, according to Sherow, involved a person who accused him of “destroying private property” and said he “would not rest easy until I and like-minded people are out of power.” The person also, according to Sherow, asked whether Sherow owned a gun, and said “you won’t be able to defend yourself, and ‘we’ won’t rest easy until ‘we take over this country.’” Sherow went on to say that the man’s rhetoric about local issues “sounds a lot like rhetoric from Our Manhattan.”

Ford said it was “a little wrong to include us” in the description of the incident, but added that “Jim Sherow is entitled to his opinions.”

Neither Ford nor Friesen would name the individual involved; Sherow’s original e-mail didn’t, either. But the two Our Manhattan officials said they confirmed that the incident as described did take place. They said they checked with the Riley County Police Department. Capt. Kurt Moldrup told The Mercury that the incident took place at The Little Grill on Barnes Road, and that Sherow called RCPD Director Brad Schoen afterward because of a perceived threat. There are no official records related to that, Moldrup said, because Schoen felt a crime had not taken place.

Our Manhattan is generally described as a conservative political group, and Sherow is often identified as a more liberal-leaning commissioner.

City Commission elections are coming up next Tuesday; Sherow is stepping down and is not a candidate.

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