by: Amanda Warford Updated:
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Leaders of the local Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition are calling for ousting of Duval GOP Secretary Kim Crenier after a series of racially-charged tweets about the unrest in Ferguson, MO.
Action News first told you about the controversy Wednesday. Crenier admitted to us that she posted a tweet Monday night saying, "A suggestion for Ferguson- fire hoses. Grt big fire hoses, serious water pressure. Kn0ck those thugs over. They probly need a shower anyway."
Crenier says she was suggesting another way to control unruly protesters. "When you put it into context there is nothing sinister," said Crenier.
But Pastor R.L. Gundy with the SCLC says there is no excuse. "That's insensitive, it's racist," Gundy said of Crenier's Tweets. "To make a comment like 'thugs' you might as well call somebody a n*****."
Gundy is one of a group of African-American community leaders to call for Crenier to step down from her volunteer position.
Wells Todd with the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition says Crenier's comments have deeply divided the community.
"When you make comments like this, what you're trying to do is divide the culture and divide the citizenry of the city along racial lines," said Todd.
Crenier says she was not speaking for the Republican Party and will not step down from her position.
"I'm not going to change their mind, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it," said Crenier.
Action News also spoke with the head of the Duval County GOP, Rick Hartley. Hartley says Crenier will remain in her position.
Civil rights leaders say if Hartley doesn't force Crenier to leave, he should step down as well.