The Kansas City mayor received text messages from one of his constituents calling him a racial slur and containing a “subtle death threat” after he updated the requirements for facial coverings in the city, reports CBS News.
On Monday, Mayor Quinton Lucas took to Twitter to post screenshots of messages he received in which a person, who identified as white in previous messages, called him a “piece of s**t n***er.” The person questioned the new face mask mandate, claiming Lucas walked with “rioters” while not wearing a mask.
“You should swing from a tree, I’m not threatening it, but would love to see it,” one of the text messages read.
“Y’all… let’s do better,” Lucas urged in his tweet about the messages.
Add to this the racial slur and subtle death threat I received yesterday about requiring masks, and it’s like, y’all… let’s do better. pic.twitter.com/PWCHo912TJ
— Mayor Q (@QuintonLucasKC) June 29, 2020
While all the messages are from the same number, the mayor said the number of negative messages he receives has increased dramatically since the pandemic began and has continued to rise amid protests. Lucas believes the hate will continue for a while.
“Actual racial slurs and threats are infrequent. General antisocial commentary is typical now,” he wrote on Twitter.
Negative has increased dramatically since COVID began and has continued through protest movement and now is pretty regular from different extremes. Actual racial slurs and threats are infrequent. General antisocial commentary is typical now. I figure it’ll continue for a while
— Mayor Q (@QuintonLucasKC) June 30, 2020
On Friday, Lucas updated the facial covering order to require people to wear masks in indoor public spaces. The ruling came after the Kansas City metro area saw its highest single-day spike in positive COVID-19 cases on Thursday.
He told NBC News the messages are a “sad reflection of where some people are in our country."
"What the hell does someone having a mask policy have to do with dropping N-bombs and talking about people hanging from a tree?" he said.
The Cornell Law School graduate said messages like the ones he received are jarring.
“Somebody talks about you hanging from a tree or something, that's not something you get used to letting roll off your shoulder,” Lucas said, according to KCTV.
The city’s police department was informed of the threats but is not currently investigating the incident.
"If a police report was made, then we would be investigating. I am not aware of one at this time," a spokesperson for the department said.
On Twitter, the former law school professor also addressed a doctored photo of himself which inaccurately shows him holding up a t-shirt that reads “F**k the police," while standing next to radio host Hartzell Gray who has in his hands a shirt that says "Black lives matter." The unaltered photograph reveals the shirts had designs promoting the radio station.
Lucas urged his followers to not “believe everything a muckraker sends your way” and to “use some judgement.” Lucas called the manipulated picture “patently ridiculous and nonsensical.”
Odd to have to disprove something so patently ridiculous and nonsensical (who takes a smiling F the police photo at a rock station?), but alas, that’s 2020.
— Mayor Q (@QuintonLucasKC) June 29, 2020
The 35-year-old said people need to demonstrate respect for one another.
"If we're talking about things whether it be social media comments, or violent crime, or any of these other things, my idea is let's just go back to having respect," he said, according to KCTV. "Let's go back to having respect for people, for others, for our differences. Understanding that everybody's just trying to do their best each day."
The new face mask order went into effect on Monday and will expire on July 12 but will be “updated as needed,” according to the city's website. Children under the age of 2 and individuals with certain disabilities will be exempt, reports The Kansas City Star. Face masks are not required while eating and drinking as long as safe social distancing measures are being practiced. Business owners are ordered to turn customers away if they are not wearing masks.
Wearing a mask or face covering can be uncomfortable, but this is a necessary step to ensure we can save lives and keep our economy open. We wear masks to protect our loved ones, those around us, and their loved ones.
— Mayor Quinton Lucas (@MayorLucasKC) June 26, 2020
The city will provide face masks through the CARES Act to community centers and organizations that can help with distribution.