TULARE, CA -- Unfortunately the backlash from last months social media firestorm between Tulare, CA mayor, Carlton Jones, and local farmers along with farmer supporters, has just crossed racial boundaries, using social media, once again, as the platform.
The Tulare, CA mayor, Jones rented space for a town hall meeting using his personal funds last month, inviting members of the Tulare community and the agriculture (Ag) community to come voice their concerns regarding the situation, however that may have not been enough, according to members of the Ag community.
At the Tulare City Council meeting Tuesday June 5, over 300 people--mostly from the Ag community-- rallied outside the meeting and showed up inside of City Hall to voice their "3-minutes allowed" comments, elongating the meeting so much, that other city council members were frustrated for not being able to conduct important business related to city business; a few wondered if it would be less distracting to remove Jones from the mayor title, a position voted on by members of city council, not the citizens of Tulare.
However, the mood and tone of social medial chatter in regards to this several-week, charged social media debate between Jones and Ag supporters has turned unnecessarily into derogatory racial remarks--all towards Jones, who is African-American.
Social media comments from "Jennifer6899," extorted harsh words towards Jones, using belittling racial references:
"...Let's talk about your fu---- up comment you made about ag? Carlton you are the stupidest fu-- I know. Btw read your business car you ass! Start answering the calls from the people who voted your black ass into office to begin with!!!!!!"
Social media comments from Toby Sutton suggested defamatory racist, terrorist dialogue:
"Can't Tulare have an Old Fashion Linching (lynching)?"
In response, some residents addressed their concerns on social media that the Jones-farmer debate is turning into a dangerous foreplay of prejudice, based on the color of Jones' skin.
“Is it the color of his skin that bothers you all, just sayin,” commented Patty Bixler.
According to findlaw.com, all states have laws against making criminal threats and bullying; looking at the characteristics of a threat, if it rises to the same level as an in-person, or telephonic, criminal threat, then the online threat will likely be considered illegal.
"If the threat is directed at a specific person, with a specific threat of harm, from an easily identifiable source, and appears credible, it is likely the threat will be considered illegal ... the 2014 Supreme Court decision advised, a speaker's intent can make all the difference in determining whether a post is considered a threat or protected expression."
The borderline of complaining about an elected official versus using derogatory, offensive language has gone beyond the elected representative-constituent relationship, where a few Central Valley residents have taken the liberty to use racially inflammatory words on social media against another human being versus a politician.
Jones has not responded to any of the horrifically, racially charged language he has seen on social media, and he has not resigned from mayor of Tulare, CA.
Watch full broadcast below to hear community comments from Jone's town hall.