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March 10, 2023 10:30 am

Florida Commissioner Apologizes for Using ‘Jew You Down’ Slur in Gun Store Visit

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Santa Rosa County, Florida Commissioner Sam Parker (l) addressing a commission meeting. Photo: Screenshot

A Florida county commissioner has apologized for using an antisemitic slur while attempting to make a purchase in a local gun store.

Sam Parker, a Santa Rosa County Commissioner, issued the apology on Thursday following a firestorm over comments he made during a visit to owner Chris Smith’s gun store.

On Monday, Smith attended a meeting of the commission where he showed members surveillance video of the encounter with Parker. The footage was shown again on Thursday, during the portion of the commission meeting set aside for comments from the public.

Arguing over the price of a purchase, Parker told Smith, “Hey, I’m going to have to Jew you down” — invoking a long-established slur about supposed Jewish financial clout.

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After asking, “where’s my discount?” Parker then complained about having to pay sales tax.

“I guess if we would have brought cash you wouldn’t have had to charge me tax,” he said.

Calling for Parker’s resignation, Smith accused the county commissioner of attempting to break the law over payment of a sales tax that he himself supports.

“You’re a sitting county commissioner asking a local small business to perform an illegal act by not charging a sales tax if you pay cash,” Smith told him.

Parker initially defended his use of an antisemitic slur, insisting that he hadn’t meant to target Jews with an “ethnic slur.”

“I’m not referring to the Jewish community. I used that term as an adjective, as a descriptive term of bargaining them down,” Parker said. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”

By Thursday, however, extensive media coverage of Parker’s remark shifted his position, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

“The surveillance video showed me inside of General Rental Center of Milton during January of this year,” Parker said at the commission meeting. “During my conversation with the cashier I used a figure of speech that I have since learned has a history of being meant to be derogatory toward Jewish people.”

He added that he “had absolutely no intent of saying anything offensive or derogatory towards any group of people or individual. I am sorry for any pain or suffering that my statement caused to anyone, and I hope that you will accept my sincere apology.”

Parker stressed that he specifically wanted to apologize to County Attorney Tom Dannheisser, who is Jewish.

“Tom, I know you are Jewish and I am sorry for using that phrase during Monday’s meeting when this issue was discussed,” Parker said.

Other commissioners criticized Parker for having brought unwelcome attention to the small Florida community.

“I don’t think we’ve ever made national news like that, or international news,” Commissioner James Calkins told Parker. “You put us on the map.”

Another commissioner, Sherry Chapman, was even more direct.

“If you would have said that to me I would have backhanded you, or told you off to make you about a half inch tall,” she told Parker. “You owe an apology to every Jewish person in the United States of America for such a remark.”

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