Ala. rep shocks colleagues with racial remarks

Rep. Joseph Mitchell (Source: National Conference of Legislatures)
Rep. Joseph Mitchell (Source: National Conference of Legislatures)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama House leader says a black lawmaker will not face punishment for referring in an email to a white constituent's ancestors as incestuous slave owners.

Republican House Speaker Mike Hubbard said Thursday that neither he nor most other legislators share the views that Democratic Rep. Joseph Mitchell of Mobile expressed in the email to a Jefferson County man. But Hubbard said Mitchell has free speech rights.

Mitchell, who is black, sent an email to the man referring to the man's "slave-holding, murdering, adulterous, baby-raping, incestuous ... kin folk." The man had emailed Mitchell and other lawmakers asking them not to pass gun control laws.

House Democratic leader Craig Ford says Mitchell doesn't speak for anyone other than himself.

Mitchell has missed much of this year's legislative session, but he confirmed he sent the email.

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