Black Georgia lawmaker says she was "verbally attacked" by man who told her to "go back where you came from"

By Grace Segers

/ CBS News

Georgia state Rep. Erica Thomas posted a video to Facebook Friday saying that she was "verbally attacked" by a man who told her to "go back where you came from." Thomas, who is black, says she was standing in the express line while grocery shopping when a man started yelling at her for having too many items.

"I'm at the grocery and I'm in… the aisle that says '10 Items or Less.' Yes, I have 15 items, but I'm nine months pregnant and I can't stand up for long," Thomas, visibly shaken and crying, said in the video. "This white man comes up and says, 'You lazy son of a b***h.' He says, 'You lazy son of a b***h, you need to go back where you came from.'"

I’m about to be very Transparent because this racism and hate is getting out of control! I feared for my life!

Posted by Erica Thomas on Friday, July 19, 2019

When she tried to explain that she was pregnant, Thomas said the man told her she was "ignorant."

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"It hurt me so bad — I'm sorry y'all — because everything in me just wanted to tell him who I am… but I couldn't, I couldn't get anything out," Thomas said, adding that her nine-year-old daughter was standing next to her during the tirade. "I couldn't even explain to her why he has so much hate in his heart."

"I'm in Publix, trying to buy groceries. Why are you so angry at me? You don't even know me and you call me a sonofab***h and I'm ignorant and a piece of shit? I don't understand," Thomas continued.

She did not mention President Trump, who recently told four minority congresswomen to "go back" to where they came from, but Thomas said there was "so much hate in this world and it's being incited by our president every single day."

Thomas' video went viral on Twitter, along with the hashtag #IStandWithErica. Thomas later wrote that she was "verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man."

"My husband wasn't there to defend me because he is on Active Duty serving the country I came from USA!" Thomas wrote.

Mr. Trump's tweets have incited controversy this week over the dark, racist history of telling people to go back to where they came from. At a campaign rally this week, the audience chanted "send her back" multiple times referring to Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Somalian-born congresswoman. Although he initially denounced the chant, Mr. Trump later came out in support for rallygoers and their words.

First published on July 20, 2019 / 2:59 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Grace Segers

Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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