ATLANTA, Ga. – A man who is running for Fulton County Sheriff has sparked outrage following a Facebook post that an 11Alive tipster calls “absolutely disgusting”.
Ben Cowart, 53, shared a video that shows the late country western film star John Wayne firing a gun. The 1960s montage, that would typically feature cowboys falling after being shot, features competition cyclists appearing to be shooting victims of Wayne.
“This may cost me the bicycle vote,” Cowart wrote in the August 18 post on Facebook.
The post was taken down following a slew of complaints. It has also sparked growing concerns for bicyclists like Angela Milner. “It was horrendous. It made me feel like he didn’t like bicyclists,” Milner said.
Cowart released the following statement in response to questions about his Facebook post:
"I apologize if anyone was offended by the Satiric video featuring John Wayne that was posted on my personal Facebook page. Although the video is clearly a satire and meant to be humorous, in no way do I advocate any kind of violence towards anyone, whether they be on foot, bicycle, car, or any other mechanized mode of transportation. We've removed the item and look forward to returning our focus on the major issues facing the people of Fulton County including the rising crime rate in South Fulton, low employee morale, and the thousands of warrants yet to be served that keep bad guys on the streets," said Cowart.
According to the candidate’s website, in the early 90s, Cowart joined the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department as a reserve officer. He’s also served for several other law enforcement officers, including Gwinnett County sheriff’s departments and the Lawrenceville and Norcross police department.
Cowart is up against incumbent candidate Sheriff Theodore “Ted” Jackson, who is campaigning for a third re-election to the office.