CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Calling it the “modern-day digital version of burning a cross in her front yard,” Delegate Danielle Walker, D-Monongalia, filed a civil suit against West Virginians For Life and former Berkeley County WVFL President Richard Demoske Tuesday over an anti-abortion message she received showing an image of a klansman.
On Feb. 1, Walker, the only Black female lawmaker, received an email that included a subject dressed as a member of the Ku Klux Klansman delivering a pro-life message. A post with the image was also circulated on social media and tagged with Delegate Walker’s name.
The message said, “Delegate Danielle Walker, West Virginia State Legislator for Monongalia County, 51 District the idiot featured in the picture below is an ally of yours and holds the same beliefs you do that the killing of children who look like you is a good thing!”
The lawsuit says Walker believes her safety has been threatened and she now wears a protective vest in and around the state Capitol. Additionally, Walker claims the incident caused “mental suffering, mental anguish, personal injuries, damages, loss of enjoyment of life, humiliation, embarrassment, indignity, shame, economic damages, diminished earning capacity and future lost wages.”
Demoske admitted to sending the image and has resigned.
“In an effort to oppose racism, I composed a poorly designed and easily misunderstood meme that unintentionally conveyed racism,” Desmoske said in a statement.
Walker spoke with MetroNews after receiving the message.
“For a Black woman, the only Black woman currently in both houses in the state of West Virginia, on the first day of Black history month to receive this hate mail is beyond my understanding.
“If nothing else, how insensitive. If nothing else, if this doesn’t scream racism and oppression and trauma, then what does it scream?”
Walker filed the lawsuit in Kanawha Circuit Court. The case is assigned to Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom.
Walker is being represented by Wheeling-based Toriseva Law.