State rep denies Facebook post was a call for lynching
COLUMBIA - A Missouri state representative says he was not referring to a lynching when he said some vandals should be hung. But some of his colleagues are calling for his resignation, saying he was inciting political violence.
Rep. Warren Love, R-Osceola, wrote a Facebook post Wednesday reacting to vandalism at Springfield National Cemetery, saying, "This is totally against the law. I hope they are found & hung from a tall tree with a long rope."
Love said it was simply a "cowboyism," and nothing more. He said he was simply trying to say the vandals should be punished to "the full extent of the law."
He released a statement on social media saying:
"It appears that several people have interpreted a post I made about vandalizing an object of remembrance in a national veterans cemetery in Springfield to be rather harsh and inciting violence. I did not mean it that way and was only using an old cowboy statement that is a Western custom for thieves that steal cattle and horses. To whoever the post offended, I am sorry. However, I do believe that it is very serious whenever a cemetery or an object of remembrance is desecrated or vandalized, and the penalty needs to be increased from a misdemeanor to a felony"
Several lawmakers quickly criticized Love's initial comments.
Missouri Democratic Party Chair Stephen Webber tweeted, “Calls for political violence are unacceptable. He needs to resign.”
Webber sent the following tweet:
Warren Love has a history of bigotry and racism. https://t.co/DQzLJPoDjH— Stephen Webber (@s_webber) August 30, 2017
Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, posted his opposition to Love's comments.
House Minority Leader Gale McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City, said, “In calling for the lynching of those who vandalized a Confederate statute in Springfield, state Rep. Warren Love invoked a form of political violence used throughout the South to keep African-Americans subjugated for generations following the fall of the Confederacy, and for that he must resign.”
Love said he knows he "stirred up a hornet's nest."
"Now, it’s just blown up and it’s all over the country," he said. "There’s always consequences for making a, maybe what turned into a foolish comment I shouldn’t have made."
Love said the post was deleted from his Facebook page but he didn't do it. He said his children often help with his page and one of them may have done it.