A Democratic Georgia state lawmaker said that she would not be “backtracking” on her accusations that a man told her to “go back” to where she came from during a heated exchange in a grocery store.
During a press conference on Monday, Georgia state Rep. Erica Thomas (D-Ga.) said that she would not be “backtracking” on her claims that Eric Sparkes screamed at her to “go back to where [she] came from” after she allegedly took too many items to the express checkout line at a Publix grocery store.
“He said, ‘Go back where you came from!’ […] And after that, he kept harassing me,” Thomas said. “I was embarrassed, and I was scared for my life.”
"He said, 'Go back where you came from!' … and after that he kept harassing me." – Rep. Erica Thomas
WATCH NEWS CONFERENCE LIVE HERE – https://t.co/TJDIAYa5Zg
*NOTE: We're working to talk with Eric Sparkes today to get his side of the story pic.twitter.com/ZWqQsO3vkT
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) July 22, 2019
Sparkes — a Democrat of Cuban descent — denied the Georgia state lawmaker’s accusations by crashing her news interview about the incident, admitting to the confrontation, but denying that he told her to “go back” and calling the claim “untrue.”
He then claimed that Thomas had fabricated the story for “political purposes.”
“Like I said earlier, I’m a Democrat,” Sparkes said. “I will vote Democrat the rest of my life, okay? So to call me what she wants to believe for her political purposes that make it black, white, brown or whatever, that is so untrue.”
Thomas appeared to backtrack on her claims later that day to reporters, saying that she did not “know” if Sparkes had told her to “‘go back'” but claimed to have remembered him “making those types of references.”
“I don’t know if he said ‘go back,’ or those types of words. […] I don’t know if 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.”
Erica Thomas is now walking about her claim that she was told to "go back to your country." pic.twitter.com/mMVhT2QSEk
— Boomieleaks (@notwokieleaks) July 21, 2019
A reporter directly asked Thomas if she remembered what Sparkes had said to her during the confrontation, but the state lawmaker said: “definitely not.”
“No, no, definitely not. But I know it was ‘go back’ because I know I told him to ‘go back,'” said Thomas.