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A Georgia Republican state representative is backpedaling after warning a former colleague and Democratic state rep that she could “go missing” if she continued to push for the removal of Confederate statues in south Georgia.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, state Rep. Jason Spencer, made veiled threats to former Rep. LaDawn Jones on Facebook while the pair engaged in a debate over photos Spencer had taken with Georgia’s memorial commemorating Confederate president Jefferson Davis, including the house Davis fled to after the Civil War. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Georgia has approximately 90 Confederate monuments, the second-most in the United States after Virginia.
“This is Georgia’s history. #DealWithIt,” Spencer, who was elected in 2010 to a southeast Georgia district, had captioned his photos.
Jones, who represented an Atlanta-based district from 2012 to 2016, fired back in the comments, asking if the state’s budget included upkeep for the site: “I’ll deal with it but don’t want to pay for it.”
Through some back and forth during which the pair debated whether the Confederate monuments would be taken down, Spencer began to tell Jones what would happen should she push for statue removal in the south of the state:
“Continue your quixotic journey into South Georgia and it will not be pleasant. The truth. Not a warning. Those folks won’t put up with it like they do in Atlanta,” he wrote in one comment.
“I can guarantee you won’t be met with torches but something a lot more definitive…They will go missing in the Okefenokee. Too many necks they (sic) are red around here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you about ’em,” Spencer continued.
Jones, not backing down, called out Spencer’s comments, writing, “Sounds like a threat of physical violence… Is that what we are doing now? Desperate times call for desperate measures huh?…Enjoy but know, WINTER IS COMING. You know it too, otherwise you wouldn’t have found a need to even make this post or those hollow threats of not coming to south GA.”
In texts to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Spencer said he wasn’t threatening Jones, but wanted to warn her of south Georgia’s resistance to removing Confederate monuments.
“She is from Atlanta—and the rest of Georgia sees this issue very differently,” Spencer wrote. “Just trying to keep her safe if she decided to come down and raise hell about the memorial in the back yards of folks who will see this as an unwelcome aggression from the left.”
Spencer also asked the publication to include the following photo of him at the unveiling of a Martin Luther King Jr. statue in their story:
Unveiling of the MLK, Jr. statue was today in Atlanta. Well attended event. This is Georgia's history.Posted by Jason C. Spencer on Monday, August 28, 2017
While the Facebook exchange has since been deleted from his page, Spencer later shared a video of Jones’ appearance on Fox News with Tucker Carlson explaining that people watching the video would see Jones’ “passionate” personality and understand why he needed to warn her before pushing back against south Georgians. The post has also since been removed from his Facebook page as of Wednesday morning.
“If it were anybody other than Jason Spencer, then I would be alarmed. But we had a unique relationship in the Georgia Legislature,” Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. If the threats hadn’t come from Spencer, she would take them seriously, but she still found his remarks “concerning.” “Because if that’s representative of what people in south Georgia think, then yikes.”
H/T Raw Story
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.