Mayor sues residents over alleged use of racial slur

by: Tom Jones Updated:

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FOREST PARK, Ga. —

A local mayor has filed a libel lawsuit against two citizens claiming they are spreading vicious rumors about him.

Forest Park Mayor David Lockhart has filed the suit against Joy Church and Lenora Dove.

Lockhart said City Hall surveillance cameras captured the two dropping off a stack of letters at City Hall.

The anonymous letters said Lockhart was at a National Prayer Service at the National Archives when he told another elected official that one reason he ran for office was to keep the (racial slur) from running Forest Park.

Channel 2's Tom Jones asked Lockhart if he ever uttered those words.

"Absolutely not," he said. "This is a lie and I'm willing to sit under cross examination and testify under oath that's it's a lie."

Lockhart just took office in April. He said someone is trying to assassinate his character and he's not going to stand for it.

He said he is a lifelong resident of Forest Park and if he had a problem with the increasing diversity in the city, he would have left.

Instead, Lockhart said he worships with people of all races and enjoys the diversity of the City Council.

He told Jones he is so offended he wants Church and Dove to pay up for what he feels is a politically motivated attack.

Lockhart said he's seeking punitive damages and expenses for the cost of filing the suit.

He said he'd rather be dealing with the important issues the city faces.

But he says it's important to let people know they can't get away with these types of attacks.

"I did not say those words. That simply never happened," Lockhart said.

Jones tried to reach Church and Dove for a response to the lawsuit but his calls were not returned.