A man accused of telling an African-American Georgia state lawmaker to “go back to where you came from” because she had too many items in the express checkout line at a grocery store disputes her version of events and denies that he said anything racist.
Tearing up in an emotional Facebook live video, state Rep. Erica Thomas, who has represented parts of Cobb County, Georgia, since 2015, described the incident on Friday in which she said she “feared for her life” after a white man “verbally assaulted.”
“I am nine months pregnant, and I can’t stand up for long, and this white man comes up to me and says…’ you need to go back where you came from!'” she said.
In a tweet, Thomas explained her husband was an active duty military service member and exclaimed, “I came from USA!”
But on Saturday, Thomas told reporters she was uncertain about the exact phrasing of what Eric Sparkes said to her at the Publix grocery store.
“He said ‘go back,’ you know, those types of words,” she said. “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.”
Thomas said she remembered “go back” was part of their exchange because, “I told him, ‘go back.'”
Sparkes admits using profanity to insult Thomas because she had too many items in the express lane but denies telling her to go back where she came from.
“Her words stating on Twitter, and her video stating I told her she needs to go back where she came from are untrue,” Sparkes said a news conference in front of the store Saturday.
“I stated, ‘Well, you’re a selfish little b—-.’ I did say that,” Sparkes said.
Thomas confronted Sparkes during his news conference on Saturday. In that exchange, Sparkes said he called Thomas a “lazy b—-,” but “that’s the worst thing I said.”