Georgia’s Republican state Rep. Jason Spencer told his former colleague on Tuesday that she and others supporting the removal of state-sponsored Confederate monuments and landmarks could “go missing.”
Attorney and former state Democratic Rep. LaDawn Jones, who says she regularly debated with Spencer in person and online, was shocked by the menacing comments she received.
The exchange began on a Facebook post, when Spencer posted a picture of the Jefferson Davis memorial. Jones had criticized his support for Confederate monuments, arguing that the objects shouldn’t be supported by state tax dollars.
The former representative says that tense discussions about race weren’t uncommon between the two and that she appreciated the dialogue. “We educated each other,” the Atlanta-based attorney told HuffPost.
But Spencer’s comments took a disturbing turn, Jones says, especially when he suggested that harm might come to those who attempt to remove or question the monuments in southern Georgia.
“Continue your quixotic journey into South Georgia and it will not be pleasant,” he wrote. “The truth. Not a warning. Those folks won’t put up with it like they do in Atlanta. It best you move on.”
“I can guarantee you won’t be met with torches but something a lot more definitive,” he wrote.
“They will go missing in the Okefenokee [swamp],” he continued. “Too many necks they are red around here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you about ’em.”
Jones pointed out sounded like “a threat of physical violence.”
Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she was concerned by Spencer’s comments, but didn’t fear for her life.
“If it were anybody other than Jason Spencer, then I would be alarmed. But we had a unique relationship in the Georgia legislature,” Jones said. “If that had come from anybody else, I’d take it as a serious threat.”
“Because if that’s representative of what people in south Georgia think, then yikes,” she added.
His comments reflect a more systemic problem with racism, Jones said.
“I’m surprised with the level of comfort with the situation in south Georgia,” she said. “Like, ‘It is what it is.’ I wasn’t threatened, but I don’t want to minimize it either.”
Spencer, who has been serving as a state representative since 2010, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he only meant to warn Jones “how people can behave about this issue.”
He elaborated via text…