A candidate for the city council of Gwinnett County’s largest city defended Wednesday a handful of social media posts referencing guns, violence and other controversial issues.
Late Tuesday night, the Gwinnett County Democratic Party’s Facebook page shared at least three posts made by 24-year-old Luke Crawford, an outspoken gun advocate and candidate for a seat on the Peachtree Corners City Council.
One post dated December 21, 2016, showed the body of the gunman who killed a Russian ambassador in Turkey a few days earlier. Above it, Crawford wrote “violence is golden.”
Another post from last November purported to show a video of members of the Black Lives Matter movement attacking a family in a car. Wrote Crawford: “People often say ‘But Luke, when will you ever need a gun’. Here is a perfect example. I bet the liberals would turn and run if they received a few rounds of 9mm to the face instead of a weak punch.”
In sharing the posts, the Democratic Party urged Peachtree Corners residents to vote next month but “NOT for this individual.”
In a comment on the party’s posts — which were later deleted — Crawford wrote that he stood by “everything I say, both on social media and in real life.”
Other Facebook posts found by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution included several in which Crawford appeared to mockingly refer to Islam as “the religion of peace”; several that referred to violence as the “final answer”; one that includes the hashtag “#NeverGoFullRetard,” a reference to the movie “Tropic Thunder”; and one that includes a video of what appears to be a female military member being knocked down by a male counterpart.
“When reality hits those who think genders are equal in the face,” Crawford wrote while posting the latter.
Peachtree Corners City Council races are non-partisan but, in a statement sent to The AJC on Wednesday, Crawford called himself a “strong conservative, proud member of the Republican party and proponent of freedom and equality for everyone, no matter their skin color, gender, income etc.”
“I want to make it clear that no matter how hard the left attempts to defame me, I will continue to fight for our constitutional rights and equality for all,” the statement said, in part.
Tyler Estep is a reporter covering DeKalb County, its government and its people. A Gwinnett County native and University of Georgia graduate, he has been with the AJC since 2015. He previously covered his home county and served stints on the paper's hyperlocal and breaking news teams.