A city council member is facing serious backlash for going live on Facebook during the funeral for Hesperia Mayor Russell Blewett that showed the mayor as he was lying in his open casket.
Blewett’s family members said they were outraged, and couldn’t understand why anyone would do that.
The cellphone video recorded by Victorville city council member Blanca Gomez was taken at the recent funeral for the beloved mayor.
"He's every daughter's dream of a dad,” the mayor’s daughter Lori Nielsen said.
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Nielsen said no one in her family had any idea that Gomez was recording the funeral held at a Mormon church, which is the most sacred structure in the religion of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
"And when you die, you are placed in your temple clothes, which is all white clothing and it's very sacred,” Nielsen said.
She also said no one is allowed to photograph or videotape the clothing.
But Gomez recorded roughly 30 seconds of the mayor lying in his open casket.
"She was hiding that camera,” Jillian Stiber, the mayor's granddaughter, said.
Stiber said in the videos, Gomez could be heard trying to network with other city leaders.
"She did this for political gain for herself,” she said.
NBC4 reached out to Gomez and she released a statement apologizing for shooting and posting the videos.
"My intention was never to hurt or harm the family. I am very sorry for causing any embarrassment to the family. I now know what I did was not right. I hope I can someday receive forgiveness from your family. My intention was to honor your father,” Gomez said in the statement.
"We’re angry. We’re furious. We’re hurt,” Nielsen said.
But she said that an apology isn’t enough, and she wants Gomez to resign.
"She took something that was very sacred to our religion and put it out there,” she said.
If Gomez doesn’t resign, a group has already started a recall that’s already gained support of some council members.
"We’re saddened that we find ourselves in a position where the actions of one Council Member have become such a distraction to our residents. This is getting attention over all of the good things that are happening in our City. Victorville is a thriving, vibrant community; and we’re working hard to keep it that way.
At this time, no one has filed the official paperwork for a recall with the Victorville City Clerk’s Office; but we are aware efforts exist to pursue the recall," the City of Victorville spokeswoman said in a statement.