The story was originally published by The Telegraph.
The Macon and Houston County chapters of the NAACP asked the GBI to investigate a Houston County athletic trainer for terroristic threats Thursday after he posted expletive-laden racist videos on Facebook.
Macon NAACP branch president Gwendolyn Westbrooks and Warner Robins NAACP president Jonathon Johnson announced they are asking for charges against Mark Taylor, 52, who owns a private athletic training company for high school athletes, in a press conference Tuesday.
Taylor repeatedly used the N-word and made other racist remarks in videos that were posted to social media, which have since been deleted but were recorded and reposted several times. He references hanging a Black woman from a tree and encourages his friends to come to Atlanta to go “hunting.”
“Mr. Mark Taylor has coached and trained Black students throughout the Middle Georgia area, and we don’t know what type of effect that he has had, or what type of treatment these kids may have endured, during his training,” Westbrooks said. “We want him charged for terroristic threats, because that’s exactly what he did. There’s a line when it comes to expressing free speech.”
Taylor, a former Northside Middle School seventh-grade science teacher and Warner Robins High School track and field coach, now runs Speed Edge Sports. The company trains young athletes and advertises how many former program participants have become professional athletes on its Facebook page.
“We will not tolerate any type of behavior that he has exemplified as a community member. We want to send a very clear message. We have zero tolerance for racial hatred,” Westbrooks said. “We’re asking for these parents to make some type of conscious decision about their kids.”
Taylor was found guilty of stalking his fiancée in 2009. He served time in prison and, as a condition of his probation, was banished from Houston County, according to Telegraph records. The banishment was lifted in 2016.
Westbrooks and Johnson both said they reached out to the GBI, but that typically the Georgia NAACP president’s office interacts with law enforcement. This is their first time attempting to launch an investigation.
“It seems like Mr. Mark Taylor was doing this with someone he was very comfortable with. I believe there’s more people that he’s associated with,” Johnson said. “We want to set a precedent: if his day has come today, their day will come as well.”
Westbrooks and Johnson said they initially planned a protest against Taylor’s remarks at Central Fellowship Christian Academy, a private Christian school in Macon that apparently leased their facilities to Taylor. CFCA severed its ties to Taylor, according to a statement from its board.
“That relationship has ended effective immediately,” the statement read. “We are shocked by the recent videos from Mark Taylor that have circulated on social media. We give no room for racism.”
Westbrooks and Johnson could not offer a timeline for charging Taylor, stating they wanted to get the process moving “as soon as possible.”
Credit: The Telegraph
Credit: The Telegraph
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