COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Police have released video of bodycam interviews with Eric Sparkes, the man who confronted Georgia State Rep. Erica Thomas in the checkout line at a grocery store, and the Publix manager who witnessed some of the altercation.
The store manager told a Cobb County Police officer who spoke to her the day after the incident that she did not hear Sparkes, who was accused by Thomas of telling her to “go back where she came from,” use any “go back” language.
She said she did not hear the beginning of the altercation, and “didn’t walk over to them to intervene until they started getting very loud.”
The manager said at that point she heard Sparkes calling Thomas ignorant and her telling Sparkes to leave the store and “go back where you came from.”
Thomas has said she started telling Sparkes to “go back” after he first used the language to her.
The manager said she only heard him call her ignorant. She also said she did not hear any vulgarity or cursing, though Sparkes has publicly acknowledged he called Thomas, who is nine months pregnant and was with her 9-year-old daughter, a “lazy b****” in the encounter after he saw she was using the “10 items or less” line with too many items.
He has denied using the specific “go back” language, accusing Thomas of using the incident for political gain.
“She’s playing the victim politically, because she’s a politician, saying I told her to ‘go back where she came’ from with all this Trump stuff happening lately, you know what I mean?” Sparkes tells the officer in his interview. “I didn’t say that, not once.”
Sparkes has said he is Cuban and a Democrat who does not support the president.
He told the officer he regularly confronts people over what he called “stupid stuff” like using the wrong grocery checkout line or parking badly.
“Not the first time I confronted someone, it won’t be the last,” he said. “It’s not my nature. I hate people getting away with stupid stuff.”