A coalition of Georgia civil rights organizations and activists today called on state legislative leaders to publicly condemn what they say was a threat of racial violence made by a south Georgia lawmaker.
State rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) said he regrets the words he used in a Facebook exchange he had with his former legislative colleague, Democrat LaDawn Jones, who is also an 11Alive political analyst.
When Spencer posted a picture of himself at a Jefferson Davis site in south Georgia, he concluded the post by telling viewers “this is Georgia’s history.” #Dealwithit.
Jones responded: “Put your hoods and tiki torches away. We will not let you hide hate behind heritage.”
Spencer responded with: “you won’t be met with torches but something a lot more definitive. People in South Georgia are people of action, not drama...” adding that visitors from Atlanta “will go missing in the Okefenokee. Too many necks they are red around here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you about ‘em.”
On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Georgia and Atlanta NAACP and other groups issued a joint statement, calling on Spencer to apologize or resign.
“Although Rep. Spencer's Aug. 30th statement expresses regret that others 'misinterpreted' what he said, his comments were as clear as they were dangerous. Rep. Spencer sought to intimidate an African-American woman by telling her that the residents of his district would murder her, and throw her body in a swamp, if she dared to visit the region and call for the removal of its Confederate monuments,” the statement said.
“Republican and Democratic lawmakers must now unite to condemn Rep. Spencer's remarks and demand that he sincerely apologizes,” the groups continued. “House leadership must also pledge to remove Rep. Spencer from the Game, Fish & Parks committee, for a politician who raises the specter of a lynching to protect Confederate monuments from criticism has no business making decisions about those monuments.
“Finally, if Rep. Spencer keeps refusing to retract and apologize for his remarks, Georgia lawmakers should demand his resignation from the Georgia General Assembly.”
Jones said she didn’t take Spencer’s comments as a threat to her.