- On Saturday, Sparkes told reporters he called her a vulgarity but did not say anything racial.
A white man has admitted cursing at a pregnant black Georgia lawmaker for taking too many items into a supermarket express lane but denies telling her, "go back where you came from."
Eric Sparkes showed up during a WSB-TV interview with Rep. Erica Thomas of Austell on Saturday, outside the Atlanta-area Publix store where the incident occurred , the station reported .
He denied making any racially charged comment, adding, "I am Cuban."
Thomas confronted Sparkes in front of reporters and said he had "degraded and berated" her. She has told The Associated Press she notified police and will seek store video.
In a tearful Facebook video posted Friday, Thomas said she was in the express line because she is nine months pregnant and cannot stand for long. Thomas' video went viral as the hashtag #IStandwithErica trended on Twitter.
So Eric Sparkes admits to approaching me and verbally assulting me in front of my 9 year and but not the rest of his statements. You sounds like a coward to me and that’s fine you will think twice before you berate any one again!You keep lying we have witnesses that will testify! pic.twitter.com/HRWTBZ89SC— Erica Thomas (@itsericathomas) July 21, 2019
On Saturday, Sparkes told reporters he called her a vulgarity but did not say anything racial.
Thomas said Sparkes was just trying to make himself look better.
Sparkes said he's a Democrat and was being unjustly attacked for political purposes.
Today I was verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man who told me I was a lazy SOB and to go back to where I came from bc I had to many items in the express lane. My husband wasn’t there to defend me because he is on Active Duty serving the country I came from USA!— Erica Thomas (@itsericathomas) July 20, 2019
Thomas said Friday that she never identified herself to Sparkes as a public official. She said she was so taken aback by his actions that she didn't think to try to record them.
@itsericathomas is on my show during session letting our listeners know about issues that effect us she is a wonderful spirit and this is a very disturbing video to watch . I will support her anyway necessary https://t.co/5qhit4m4n9— Ryan Cameron (@ryancameron) July 20, 2019
In a statement, Publix has said the company is "cooperating with local law enforcement as they look into the matter."
The incident came days after President Donald Trump tweeted that four congresswomen of color, including U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, should go back to the "broken and crime infested" countries they came from.
In her video, Thomas alluded to those attacks and accused the president of inciting hate.
During the television interview, she said Sparkes "needs to be held accountable because people can't just go out and berate pregnant women."