The director of the Alaska Human Rights Commission resigned Monday, three days after she was suspended for her actions involving a “Black Rifles Matter” sticker on a vehicle in the commission’s Anchorage parking lot.
Marti Buscaglia, in a letter to commissioners, said she hoped her resignation would put the issue behind the agency.
“I have been contemplating retirement for a while now and I believe the time has come," she wrote. "I truly believe it will be in the best interest of the Commission for me to leave now so that the Black Rifles Matter controversy can be put behind us and the Commission can continue to do their excellent work.”
Her resignation is effective April 26, she wrote. On Friday, the commission voted 5-2 to suspend Buscaglia without pay for 15 working days, which is through April 26.
The panel also ordered her to send an apology letter to the truck’s owner, Brent Linegar, a contractor who had been doing work in the building .
Buscaglia saw the 'Black Rifles Matter" sticker on Linegar’s vehicle and left a business card complaining about it and asking him to park elsewhere, then posted a photo of it on the commission’s Facebook page asking, “In what world is this OK?”
Linegar told KTUU that the the sticker was merely promoting a pro-Second Amendment message, and he wasn’t happy that images of his truck were spread online. The incident provoked a strong backlash, and Gov. Mike Dunleavy called for an investigation. Linegar told the Associated Press that Buscaglia should never have made those comments on social media. “If she wanted to simply have a conversation with me, then a note to that effect could have been left on my windshield. Instead, she saw fit to write a different type of note, put my truck on Facebook on the State page ...,” he said.
Buscaglia said she removed the post amid strong reactions, writing on Facebook that the post offended many gun owners who interpreted it as the commission being against the right to own guns, which she said was not the case. “Our concern was with the connotation of the statement to the Black Lives Matter movement,” the new post read.
Republican lawmakers on Monday applauded her resignation. Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard of Wasilla called it “a great victory for free speech and for Alaskans.”