Lawmaker Calls for Lynchings as Confederate Statues Fall

Mississippi's Karl Oliver says 'choice of words was horribly wrong'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2017 7:41 AM CDT
Lawmaker Calls for Lynchings as Confederate Statues Fall
Rep. Karl Oliver, R-Winona, in Jackson, Miss., on Dec. 12, 2016.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

A Mississippi state lawmaker is facing a firestorm after saying politicians who support the removal of Confederate monuments should be lynched. Four Confederate monuments were recently removed from New Orleans in an effort to "correct" history, the city's mayor tells Time. But Rep. Karl Oliver didn't see it that way. In a Saturday Facebook post, the Republican from Winona, Miss., wrote that "if the … 'leadership' of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED," per the Jackson Free Press. Appalled politicians, including the head of the Mississippi Republican Party and Gov. Phil Bryant, quickly spoke out, per WJTV, as did the NAACP.

Oliver "not only called for the murder of public officials" but "in specifically calling for lynching, he also explicitly raised the ugly history of racial violence in America," said the president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Oliver issued an apology Monday, noting, "I do not condone the actions I referenced, nor do I believe them in my heart. I freely admit my choice of words was horribly wrong, and I humbly ask your forgiveness." Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn says Oliver will be removed as vice chairman of the House Forestry Committee regardless, per the Free Press. The paper adds the monuments removed from New Orleans aren't to be destroyed as Oliver suggested, but will likely appear in museums. (More Mississippi stories.)

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