These Missouri senators helped get an Olathe man death threats. They need to apologize | Opinion

Denton Loudermill: Because a handful of hard-right extremists in the Missouri Senate won’t, I would like to extend you a heartfelt apology. It bothers me that the elected officials who spread disinformation about you refuse to accept accountability for their actions that put your life in danger. You deserve at least that, if not more.

No one should have to suffer because of egregious mistakes made by others. In this space, I wish you and your family well.

On Thursday, members of the hard-right Missouri Freedom Caucus spoke with reporters at the State Capitol in Jefferson City. Rick Brattin, a Republican senator from Harrisonville, is chair. Brattin was one of three state senators who shared social media posts that falsely accused Loudermill of being an “illegal immigrant” responsible for a Valentine’s Day mass shooting in Kansas City after the Chiefs’ victory parade and rally

State Sens. Denny Hoskins of Warrensburg and Nick Schroer of St. Charles County were the others.

I reached out to each of them asking if they had considered apologizing to Loudermill but neither responded. They all had an opportunity to right a serious wrong perpetuated against Loudermill, a Black man from Olathe. Instead, the group failed miserably.

At Thursday’s press conference, when asked by The Star’s Kacen Bayless if he or Hoskins had apologized to Loudermill, Brattin dismissed the question.

“I’m not even commenting on that,” Brattin said. “That’s not even part of the discussion.”

Later, Brattin told Bayless he didn’t think his false post that put Loudermill’s head on the chopping block was worth an apology.

Brattin was dead wrong for the lack of empathy on display this week.

“There’s nothing that I even see — even worth that,” Brattin said. “So we’ve done nothing. And, you know, I have no comment.”

But the crew did do a great deal of harm to Loudermill, a father of three. He’s faced ridicule, embarrassment and death threats since a photo of him in handcuffs was disseminated on social media, Loudermill told reporters this week.

“Everybody that put my name through the mud, everybody needs to be held accountable,” Loudermill said. Ding, ding, ding.

According to Loudermill, police detained him because he didn’t leave the scene of the mass shooting in a timely manner.

Although he has not been charged in connection with the shooting — at least five others have, including two men accused of second-degree felony murder — Loudermill was detained long enough for his picture to circulate widely on the internet. Thanks to members of the Missouri Freedom Caucus and its minions, his life has since been turned upside down.

And yet, neither Brattin, Hoskins nor Schroer, had the common decency to apologize for spreading false information and outright lies. Earlier this week, the Freedom Caucus’ social media account tried to distance itself from the false accusations its group helped spread against Loudermill. Anything short of a public apology will not suffice here.

I believe to err is human. A sincere apology shouldn’t be all that difficult. But to refuse to acknowledge spreading propaganda and hate that puts a man’s life in danger is absurd.

These Missouri senators owe Loudermill a very public reckoning. Their refusal to say sorry must be met with swift sanctions issued by their fellow lawmakers in the state Senate.