Bodycam clip shows Georgia lawmaker who claimed a man told her to 'go back where you came from' was the one who used the racist phrase
A security footage from inside the Pubix was also released by Cobb County police, which shows the moment Rep. Erica Thomas and Eric Sparkes begin to argue in front of shoppers and staff members of the store.
Days after a Georgia lawmaker posted a video on Facebook, claiming she was verbally assaulted by a man who told her to "go back where she came from," a police bodycam footage has been released, showing a witness stating otherwise.
Georgia police, on Wednesday, said that they would not charge the man, identified as Eric Sparkes, over the incident after a police officer's bodycam showed a witness claiming that it was the lawmaker, Rep. Erica Thomas, who made the controversial remarks and not Sparkes.
A security footage from inside the Pubix was also released by Cobb County police, which shows the moment Thomas and Sparkes begin to argue in front of shoppers and staff members of the store. The clip, which does not have audio, shows Sparkes coming back to the line to approach nine-month-pregnant Thomas and pointing to the express lane sign.
The police department released a second video from a police officer's body cam as he interviewed Sparkes and a witness present during the incident. The clip shows a witness confirming to law enforcement that it was Thomas who used the racist phrase and not Sparkes.
"She said that to him. 'You can go back to where you came from' to him. He just kept calling her ignorant," the store employee said. The witnes added that Thomas kept "running her mouth" as she approached him but added that "she did not walk over them to intervene until they started getting very loud."
Another employee at the store, Derrick Tompkins, while talking to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said: "I’m not going to say that wasn’t said, but I don’t remember hearing it. I’m going to leave it at that."
Thomas, after the incident, had taken to Facebook to post a video last week, in which she was crying as she claimed she was racially abused by Sparkes in the supermarket express checkout line. In the clip, the lawmaker describes how she and her nine-year-old daughter were standing in the check-out queue when Sparkes cursed her, calling her a "lazy son of a b***h" and allegedly telling her "you need to go back where you came from."
The incident occurred days after President Donald Trump tweeted that four congresswomen of color, known as the 'Squad' in Washington, should go back to the "broken and crime-infested" countries they came from. He made the statement despite all the four women being American citizens.
Sparkes, a day after Thomas' post, denied telling her to "go back to where you came from" but he admitted that he did call her a "lazy b***h." He denied making any racially-charged comments, and said that he's a Cuban, not a racist and not a Trump supporter, according to WSB-TV.
"I go up to this lady. I go, 'Ma'am, not to be rude … it's a 10 items or less (lane). I don't know if you realize it.' And all of a sudden, she blows up. She came after me," Sparkes told an officer.
"She’s playing the victim politically, because she’s a politician, saying I told her to ‘go back where she came’ from with all this Trump stuff happening lately, you know what I mean?"
Reports state that Thomas told authorities that Sparkes had ran up to her "with clenched hands in such a manner that he made me fearful for the safety of myself and my daughter." However, a deputy noted that Thomas' claims did not appear to be accurate after he reviewed the CCTV footage.