Commissioners in a suburban Atlanta county have voted to publicly reprimand a colleague for calling civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia a “racist pig” on Facebook.
The decision on Tuesday followed the recommendation of Gwinnett County’s ethics board, which voted earlier this month to sustain the ethics complaint against Commissioner Tommy Hunter, news outlets reported . He did not attend the meeting, which included a public hearing.
The public reprimand will involve posting a written rebuke on the county’s website, on the wall of the courthouse and in the local newspaper.
An Atlanta woman, Nancy Turner, filed the complaint against Hunter on Feb. 6.
Hunter’s spokesman, Seth Weathers, criticized the board’s decision.
“People are used to politicians caving to political correctness but tonight it reached a new level,” Weathers said in a statement. “Spineless politicians do spineless things.”
The Republican commissioner, who is white, had posted on Facebook in January that “John Lewis is a racist pig.” Hunter later apologized for his word choice, and said the post was an overreaction to the congressman’s criticisms of then-President-elect Donald Trump. Lewis, who is black, had said at the time that he didn’t view Trump as a legitimate president.
Lewis is widely known for his role as a civil rights leader. He was beaten and had his skull fractured by Alabama troopers while marching for voting rights for blacks in 1965.
The commission’s 4-0 vote on Tuesday may not completely end the controversy, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Hunter has an ongoing lawsuit against the county challenging the constitutionality of the ethics board.