Georgia Lawmaker Alleges Man Told Her "To Go Back To Where I Came From"In Grocery Store Confrontation
The man, Eric Sparkes, has denied making the comment.
A black Georgia lawmaker claimed that she was verbally harassed by a white man in a grocery store near Atlanta on Friday.
Erica Thomas, who’s a member of Georgia’s House of Representatives, shared a video on Facebook where she alleged that a white man (later identified as Eric Sparkes) had confronted her for having too many items in the express checkout lane at a Publix grocery store in Mableton, Georgia.
I’m about to be very Transparent because this racism and hate is getting out of control! I feared for my life!
Posted by Erica Thomas on Friday, July 19, 2019
“People are getting really out of control with this, with this white privilege,” Thomas said in the video. “People need to see the hate that is going on in this country. The hate is real.”
Along with the video, Thomas had tweeted the following:
“Today I was verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man who told me I was a lazy SOB and to go back to where I came from bc I had to many items in the express lane. My husband wasn’t there to defend me because he is on Active Duty serving the country I came from USA!”
Today I was verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man who told me I was a lazy SOB and to go back to where I came from bc I had to many items in the express lane. My husband wasn’t there to defend me because he is on Active Duty serving the country I came from USA!
— Erica Thomas (@itsericathomas) July 20, 2019
Since then, Sparkes — who denied being racist and said he was Cuban — has shared his account of the incident, admitting that he called Thomas lazy but denying anything else she claimed he said.
“This woman, Ms. Thomas, is playing the victim for political purposes because she is a state legislator,” Sparkes said to WSB-TV. “I’m a Democrat and will vote Democrat for the rest of my life, so call me whatever you want to believe. For her political purposes, make it black, white, brown, whatever. It’s untrue.”
WSB-TV also asked Thomas if Sparkes told her “go back where you came from,” to which she responded: “I don’t want to say he said, ‘Go back to your country,’ or ‘Go back to where you came from.’ But he was making those types of references is what I remember.”
However, in both the Facebook video and Twitter post, she claimed Sparkes of making the comment.
The Cobb County Police Department said a report had been filed and that the encounter was under investigation.