Maybe this was a case of projection rather than hate all along. Georgia state representative Erica Thomas claimed she’d been told to “go back where she came from” in a supermarket disagreement by a “white man,” and claimed it to be a hate crime. This took place shortly after Donald Trump’s tweets about AOC Plus 3 about going back to their “original countries” and was fodder for the argument that Trump’s comments would stoke racism and discrimination.
As it turned out, however, the man who confronted Thomas over taking too many items into the express lane wasn’t a “white man” but a Democrat of Cuban descent who appears to be a fan of AOC Plus 3. Eric Sparkes insists that he never told Thomas to “go back where you came from,” but a witness told police it was said — not by Sparkes, but by Thomas. The Publix employee said in a statement that Thomas told that to Sparkes “continuously,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
A witness to a heated grocery store encounter between state Rep. Erica Thomas and a man she accused of uttering racist comments told authorities she didn’t hear him make those remarks, according to a Cobb County police report.
A Publix employee told a Cobb County officer that she witnessed part of the conversation and heard Thomas “continuously tell Eric Sparkes to ‘Go back where you came from!’” but did not hear Sparkes utter those words to Thomas.
As Sister Toldjah writes at our sister site Red State, Sparkes doesn’t claim not to be innocent of engaging in a shouting match or having perfect manners. However, he’s adamant that he never said what Thomas alleges:
So it’s clear from this report that Sparkes initiated the confrontation, although it’s not clear if he meant to be “confrontational.” Either way, no matter how irate you get over someone using an express lane to get checked out for more items than what the lane’s limit is, you just have to let that go. Pick and choose your battles. This is not a battle you choose. You simply walk away.
Sparkes admitted that he did call Thomas “a lazy, ignorant b****”, which Thomas said in the video. Thomas has said that in response to Sparkes’s alleged comments to her about “going back’ that she in turn told him to “go back” but she did not say she told him to “go back to where you came from.”
Because there is no audio police don’t know exactly what was said first and what the tone of voice was when it was said, and can only rely on witness testimony. But the police report makes it appear as though Thomas quickly gained control of the situation and repeatedly berated Sparkes as he was trying to back away, contra to the insinuation she made in the video that she was so off guard that she didn’t know what to say.
That’s a rather generous reading of the situation. What it looks more like is an attempt by Thomas to make herself into a national figure through Trump victimhood, only she cast the wrong man as a villain and didn’t account for the witnesses. Now it looks like Thomas was at least as much to blame for what happened and used the very words against Sparkes that she claimed was a racist attack against her.
Or anyway, at least it seems that way for now. Thomas’ attorney claims video and other witnesses will vindicate Thomas’ claim, but it doesn’t appear that those witnesses talked to police about the incident:
Griggs also has repeatedly said Thomas had witnesses to back up her account and shared a social media message from one customer who said she watched the altercation as an example of the feedback he’s received. “Rep. Thomas wants the world to know that she’s standing up for the rights of women who have been victimized,” said Griggs.
Uh-huh. Police have closed the case without filing any charges, not even after Saturday’s dramatic confrontation between the two principals in front of the media. Sparkes has a few choice words for the press, too:
“Everyone that knows me knows that I am anti-hate, anti-bigot and anti-racism,” he said, adding: “Sadly, too much of media isn’t fact-checking items or they are just taking the word of a politician when they do a live Facebook or a Twitter post.”
Local station WSB reports that they expect to get access to Publix’ surveillance video now that the police have closed their investigation. It seems doubtful that it will provide any solid conclusions, but if it does show Thomas following Sparkes out the door, it will make a victimhood claim look pretty silly. Griggs might want to advise his client to let this drop down the memory hole if she expects to have any kind of political career in the future.