Spokane County Commissioner Josh Kerns and his mother were threatened by an unidentified man while sign waving on the sidewalk in north Spokane Monday.
In a video Kerns posted to his campaign Facebook page Monday, the man threatened to hit the commissioner for recording and swore at both Kerns and his mother, calling Kerns a homophobic slur and using an expletive to refer to his mother. In the recording, Kerns’ mother can also be heard calling 911.
Kerns, a Republican, said he and his mother had been waving his campaign signs at Division Street and Hawthorne Road for about an hour Monday morning when the man stopped at the stoplight and began yelling at them. He said the man used expletives while yelling about Republicans and President Donald Trump before telling the pair that he planned to assault them.
After the light turned green, the man drove around the block and found a place to park before walking over to confront them.
Kerns pulled out his phone, saying he thought the man might be less likely to assault them if he was recording, and his mother called 911. After a tense exchange that lasted about a minute, the man walked back to his car.
Kerns said he had never seen the man before and said he may have stopped to confront them because they were Republicans.
“All I have to go on is the things he was screaming at us,” Kerns said.
He said he is used to getting flipped off, or getting a thumbs down from passing cars while sign waving, but said the way the man spoke to his mother was “over the line.”
“I’m fine if somebody wants to say things to me or if they’re not going to vote for me,” he said, but “he took it way too far. That’s not the type of discourse we need in politics today. The type of language that he used doesn’t have a place in civilized society.”
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mark Gregory said the incident is being investigated, but the sheriff’s office does not have any new updates to release on the incident.
Kerns is running for reelection in the Spokane County Board of Commissioners race against Ted Cummings, a Democrat who raises cattle on a small ranch in Chattaroy.