The Black mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, said Monday that he received texts containing a racial slur and what he called a “subtle death threat” after he announced a citywide mask requirement to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Mayor Quinton Lucas posted a screenshot on Twitter of text messages he received telling him to “swing from a tree” and calling him the N-word.
“I’m not threatening it, but I would love to see it,” the message from an unidentified sender said.
One text also called Lucas an “idiot,” saying he “walked with RIOTERS not wearing a mask,” apparently referring to the mayor’s participation in George Floyd protests.
The mayor also posted a picture of him holding a T-shirt for a radio station and next to it an altered version of the photo in which the T-shirt says “—- the police.”
Above the side-by-side images, Lucas wrote, “Social media and photo shop are always fascinating. To the many texting me aghast of fake photos circulating, I recommend you not believe everything a muckraker sends your way… and use some judgment.”
In regard to the texted slur and threat, Lucas wrote, “Y’all, let’s do better.”
The mayor announced Friday a new requirement to wear masks in the city when six feet of social distancing is not possible. The rule went into effect Monday in the city of 491,000 people, shortly after it saw its highest daily tally of new cases.
Lucas said on Tuesday that 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 asked. He also said he is frustrated by “how vitriolic the politics of masks” have become.
Lucas called the t-shirt photoshopping “the dumbest frickin’ thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
“My god, am I at a point where I have to prove that I’m not actually a politician holding up an ‘F the police’ shirt? It’s ridiculous,” the mayor said, adding that he thinks he was “more upset about the fact that I felt the need to defend myself.”
The Kansas City police said via email that the department is not currently investigating the incident.
“If a police a report was made, then we would be investigating. I am not aware of one at this time,” a spokesperson for the police said.