Surveillance footage has been released from the Publix grocery store where Georgia Democratic State Rep. Erica Thomas claimed she was told to “go back” to where she “came from” by a “white man.” The video, however, does not match up with Thomas’ (changing) account of the altercation.
In official statements, social media posts, and media conferences, Thomas claimed she was the victim of a “violent action,” “feared for her life,” and lamented the supposed “white privilege” fueling the attack. The lawmaker tied the alleged incident to President Donald Trump’s “go back” tweets.
“People are getting really out of control with this — with this white privilege stuff,” she said in Facebook video following the incident, sobbing uncontrollably. “I’m at the grocery store … and this white man comes up to me and says, ‘You lazy son of a b****, you need to go back where you came from.[‘] … And it hurt me so bad.”
Thomas claimed all she “could tell him was please leave me alone.”
“And my child was just sitting there, and she said, ‘Mama, why would he call you that, why would he do that?’ I can’t even explain to her why he had so much hate in his heart,” added the Democrat.
“In the ninth month of my pregnancy, I never imagined that I would find myself in the middle of divisive, and violent action against me,” Thomas said in a statement issued Tuesday night, according to 11 Alive. “Verbal abuse, proximity control and micro-aggressions are acts of violence and especially against a woman in the vulnerable state of pregnancy.”
In the footage, which has no audio, Thomas explodes at the “white man” — a self-described lifelong Democrat of Cuban descent named Eric Sparkes — after he confronts her. Wearing a pink “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” T-shirt, the Georgia lawmaker appears to be yelling and pointing at Sparkes as he walks away.
It’s unclear what Thomas is saying to him, as there is no audio. But according to a witness, the Publix manager, it was Thomas who told Sparkes to “go back” to where he “came from” — not the other way around, as she tearfully alleged in her post.
“This woman is playing the victim for political purposes because she is a state legislator,” claimed Sparkes, who has admitted to calling Thomas a “lazy b****.” “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 is untrue.”
Here’s the video with Mr. Sparkes’ account overlapped:
Here is the video with no sound: