Violent, racist posts in Facebook group administered by Hernando County Commissioner

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Hernando County residents have publicly shared screenshots from a private Facebook Group called “Defend Hernando County”. The screenshots feature both overtly racist and incendiary calls for violence.

The group was created in reaction to potential protests in the county including at the County Courthouse in Brooksville.

The administrators of the group include Hernando County Commissioner Steve Champion who has publicly called for Florida’s Sunshine Laws to exclude posts made by public officials on social media, as well as Joe Swilliey who is currently running for Hernando County Commission in District 1.

One user posted:

“Start shooting them. Give them a warning then start”

To which another user replied:

I like lets shoot first then if there(sic) alive we will warn them for next time”

And a third continued:

“No warning shots, that’s a waste of ammo.”

Another conversation featured a user posting:

“Let them riot, and very well could become the hanging tree.

(Note, I am NOT advocating violence… just blowing off steam)”

Another user replied:

“Ok so what lets just say there was some sort of hanging apparatus… what 10 hanged. They need to stop with BS…. should we be big mad”