In the end, Dean Grose never faced his critics.

The Los Alamitos, Calif., mayor resigned by letter Monday as furor grew over a email he sent showing a watermelon patch on the White House lawn.

Grose apologized to city officials, saying in a written statement that the email was a “mistake” and in “poor taste.” He elected to skip the evening’s city council meeting, where protests were anticipated.

He told the Associated Press he was unaware of a racist stereotype associating blacks with watermelons.

The mayor of Los Alamitos, Calif., says he will resign because of an email he sent showing a watermelon patch on the White House lawn.

Mayor Dean Grose has apologized, saying he meant no harm. But public outrage has been building. The town’s city hall switchboard has received hundreds of angry phone calls, and a smashed watermelon was found last week outside the mayor’s business.

One of the people who received the email was Keyanus Price, a black businesswoman and city volunteer. Price told the Associated Press that she was offended and emailed the mayor to express her dismay.

He emailed her back expressing surprise at her anger, reports say.

“I have had plenty of my share of chicken and watermelon and all those kinds of jokes,” Price was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

“I honestly don’t even understand where he was coming from, sending this to me. As a black person receiving something like this from the city freakin’ mayor — come on.”

Reports say the mayor will resign tonight at a city council meeting, but may remain on city council. Security officials are bracing for a large turnout.

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