The No. 2 Democrat in the Georgia Senate wants Claud “Tex” McIver ousted from the state Board of Elections after a spokesman said he pulled out a handgun in fear of a Black Lives Matter rally the night he accidentally killed his wife.
State Sen. Vincent Fort wrote Senate leaders on Monday asking for McIver to be removed after “falsely blaming a fear of African American activists in Atlanta as a reason to have a firearm in hand.”
Our AJC colleague Craig Schneider quotes Fort in a story exploring outrage from some black activists who say the politically-connected attorney is being given special treatment. Police officials say he has not been treated differently than any other suspect, and his attorney told Schneider he hasn’t requested any. Read Schneider’s latest here.
Here’s the text of Fort’s letter:
I write to you as my colleagues with growing concern about our legislative chamber’s representative on the State Election Board. As I am sure you are aware, Claud “Tex” McIver, the Senate’s representative on the Board, is currently under investigation for homicide due to the shooting death of his wife.
The homicide investigation alone is enough, in my opinion, to call into question the appropriateness of Mr. McIver’s service on the Board. Beyond the issue of the homicide investigation, however, I am troubled by the fact that Bill Crane, acting as Mr. McIver’s spokesman, blamed a fear of Black Lives Matter as the excuse for why Mr. McIver was holding the gun that fired and killed his wife.
While I understand that Mr. McIver’s attorney has since disavowed that initial claim, we can only presume that Mr. Crane made that assertion in consultation with Mr. McIver, and that they made a decision to seek public sympathy by falsely blaming a fear of African American activists in Atlanta as a reason to have a firearm in hand. I believe that decision reflects an attitude toward African American political activists, and a belief in how others should view them and the African American community generally, that disqualifies Mr. McIver from serving a position of public trust as important as membership on the State Election Board.
The Board regularly handles matters that have a racial component to them. Whether it be regulation around topics such as rules for voter identification, or investigations into alleged voter fraud in racially polarized electorates in various parts of Georgia, the Board’s jurisdiction requires that its members regularly sit in judgement of matters that can be divisive. The attitudes of its members toward Georgians of every background cannot be in question. I believe Mr. McIver’s actions since the tragic death of his wife have called into question his views of the African American community, and undermine the presumption of fairness he must have to serve as a member of the Board.
I am certain that the Senate will be able to find a suitable replacement for Mr. McIver whose fairness is beyond question. I ask that you request Mr. McIver’s resignation as our chamber’s representative on the Board. Should he refuse to resign, I believe we must move to remove him from the Board as soon as possible.