Black Caucus keeps heat on after ‘racist pig’ post

Members of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus on Thursday once again called for the resignation of embattled Gwinnett County Commissioner Tommy Hunter.

Hunter has been under fire since January, when he wrote a Facebook post calling civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis a “racist pig.”

“I think it’s a really good time for Commissioner Hunter to look deep within his soul and consider the repercussions of his actions, and do for the state of Georgia and his Board of Commissioners and his district what needs to be done,” said State Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick, a Democrat from Lithonia. “And that is to step aside, and let someone who truly represents the interests of his district to come into that position.”

Kendrick, whose District 93 is partially in Hunter’s commission district, was one of seven members of the 60-member Black Caucus who attended Thursday’s press conference. The caucus’ chair and vice chair were also present, as was State Rep. Dewey McClain, whose District 100 is centered in Lawrenceville.

Organizations like the Georgia NAACP and Gwinnett County Democratic Party — as well as the dozens of protesters that have regularly showed up at Gwinnett Board of Commissioners meetings — have called for Hunter's resignation since his Jan. 14 Facebook post about Lewis. He also referred to Democrats as "Demonrats" and a "bunch of idiots."

In other 2016 posts, Hunter used the word "libtards," said "colored people" wasn't a slur and wondered if there were any "white guys" on the University of Alabama's football team.

The Republican commissioner has apologized for his “choice of words” in the Lewis post but has also made it clear he has no plans to step down from his commission seat. Hunter’s District 3 — which stretches from the southern tip of Gwinnett, through Snellville and Grayson before winding up to Dacula and Braselton — has a sizable black population.

The Black Caucus had already released a statement Tuesday calling for Hunter's job. That lengthy missive said the group could not "allow the commissioner to set precedent for unethical behavior without repercussion."

That sentiment was echoed Thursday afternoon.

“I know Congressman John Lewis,” McClain, a Democrat, said. “I knew him before he was a congressman. And I know there are three things he’s not. One, he’s not a racist. Two, he’s not a pig. And three, he’s not a racist pig.”

Asked if there was anything Hunter could besides resigning that would “satisfy” the caucus, McClain said it was more about Hunter satisfying his constituents.

“Gwinnett has to grow,” McClain said.

Seth Weathers, a political consultant who has acted as Hunter’s spokesman, called the caucus’ press conference “nothing more than a Democrat campaign event.”

“Due to their appalling refusal to demand the resignation of a fellow member, who is an open proponent of violent child abuse, it should be clear this is not about them taking the moral high ground,” Weathers wrote in a text message to The AJC. “This is nothing more than a Democrat campaign event. Spare me the faux outrage — people are beginning to see through these overused Democrat tactics. It should be noted their organization is made up of otherwise honorable individuals.”

Weathers' child abuse reference was a jab at Kendrick, who in 2014 shared on Facebook a photo from the child abuse case against NFL star Adrian Peterson. Kendrick's post said, in part, that her own mother "called this discipline."

“I turned out fine and a better citizen,” Kendrick wrote at the time.

On Thursday evening, she responded to Weathers’ barb with one of her own.

“I would love for them to point to whoever member they feel support violent child abuse, complete with evidence of such. I understand that in this age of ‘alternative facts’ by certain members of the Republican party that may be hard to do,” Kendrick wrote in an email to The AJC.

“In addition to attacking his political party, which we did not do, Tommy Hunter's office has instead decided to attack specific people — yet again — without evidence to support allegations. Same old tactics and why his resignation was asked for in the first place. My point has been proven. Resign now."