Jason Spencer, a Republican state legislator in Georgia, has made indirect threats against a black woman in his district.
The woman, a former colleague, commented on a photo of the Republican lawmaker posing in front of a Confederate monument earlier this week.
“Passing through South Georgia on my way back. Stopped by another state historic site, the Jefferson Davis memorial site,” Spencer wrote in his original post, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The memorial he was referring to is a celebration of the President of the Confederate States and his “hopes for a new nation.” Spencer’s post ended with a blatant remark: “This is Georgia’s history. #DealWithIt.”
LaDawn Jones, a former Georgia lawmaker and current attorney, told Spencer to enjoy the monument “before it is torn down.” She then questioned why state tax dollars were going to support the monument.
Spencer noted that he sits on the committee that has jurisdiction over the monuments, so “it’s not going anywhere.” He then began sending disturbing statements to Jones and cautioning her against traveling to south Georgia.
“Continue your quixotic journey into South Georgia and it will not be pleasant,” he wrote. “The truth. Not a warning. The folks won’t put up with it like they do in Atlanta. It best you move on [sic].”
Jones didn’t give in to his threats, writing, “Yea put your hoods and your tiki torches away,” she wrote. “We will not let you hide hate behind heritage.”
“I can guarantee you won’t be met with torches but something a lot more definitive,” Spencer shot back. “People in South Georgia are people of action, not drama.” Spencer then commented on another hate-filled posters comments with this gem: “They will go missing in the Okefenokee. Too many necks they are red around here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you about ’em.”
Spencer then attempted to backtrack on his comments, telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he was “just trying to keep [Jones] 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.”
Jones shot back that his comments were an “endorsement” of violence. “What was concerning to me was his level of comfort with that being a norm,” she explained. “The warning shouldn’t be to me. The warning should be to the ignorant people who think that that kind of action is appropriate.”
Jones says Spencer’s comments perfectly sum up the continuing support for Confederate memorials.
“The history behind these monuments makes it clear that they were all put into place around Jim Crow and after Brown v. the Board of Educationas a sign of exactly what Rep. Spencer was trying to say: We still believe in what these historical figures believe, and if you dare to do anything here’s your reminder of who we are and how we feel,” she said. “These monuments signaled to people to watch out and know your place.”
In 2016, Jones was in the Georgia legislature and proposed a bill to remove all Confederate monuments from state property except for the one carved into Stone Mountain.