Gwinnett County

Gwinnett commissioner walks out of ethics hearing over ‘racist pig' comment

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga., — A Gwinnett County commissioner walked out on an ethics board trying to decide if he should be punished for controversial comments made on social media.

The ethics board has apparently made its decision, but it won't be announced until it's put into writing.

Wednesday's hearing went on despite a last minute lawsuit by Commissioner Tommy Hunter and his refusal to answer the most basic of questions.

“I invoke my privilege under OGCA 5345,” was the repeated answer Hunter gave the board after every question he was asked.

Hunter then walked out when the testimony resumed.

“This is what you see in partisan politics. All for a political show,” Hunter’s attorney Dwight Thomas told Channel 2’s Tony Thomas.


Atlanta resident Nancie Turner filed the ethics complaint in January after reading Hunter’s posts on Facebook calling Rep. John Lewis a racist pig.

“I was furious. I mean I was just … that's why I went directly to his page. I couldn't believe when I went to the rest of his page and saw the whole rest of his page. I was even more upset by it,” Turned said.

Just minutes before the board gathered, Hunter's attorney filed a lawsuit claiming the ethics board was unconstitutional. Hunter wanted the hearing blocked, but the judge has not ruled on the issue.

“It's time for this community to heal,” attorney Christine Koehler told Thomas.

Hunter did not testify, but his words were in play.

Private investigator Robin Martinelli said Hunter was chatty when she served him the subpoena to testify. She testified Hunter has plans to leave Gwinnett County.

“He was going to quit soon and not go for election again and run for Madison County Commissioner where he has some land,” Martinelli said.

When Thomas asked Hunter's representative about those plans, he replied via text: “That would be a no. Doesn’t' make sense.”

The board's lawyer said after the meeting he plans to have the decision written and announced before the next county commission meeting June 6.