Questionable tweets from a Memphis mayoral candidate, resurfacing years later

WATCH: Questionable tweets from a Memphis mayoral candidate, resurfacing years later

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Mayoral candidate Tami Sawyer in the hot seat tonight after a series of offensive tweets she shared a decade ago have resurfaced.

Friday is the first day of early voting in the race.

We took a stack of seemingly racist and anti-police tweets shared by Tami Sawyer in 2009 and 2010 to a Memphis early voting location.

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Letting voters read for themselves what was said and getting their authentic reaction.

“Come on now. This can’t be real, can it?” Carolyn Bowen had just read a tweet from Memphis Mayoral Candidate and Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer dated July 19, 2009: “Little white kids and scary movies freak me out. I’m glad I can’t have white babies cause I might kill one thinking they’re damned."

"We've got a long way to go,” Bowen added. “There's a lot of stupid people still out there, still missing the real purpose for anything."

On May 23, 2010, Sawyer tweeted "I have so little respect for the police."

Chris Cooley shook his head when he read another tweet, dated two days later. It says, "I have little admiration respect for police. Protect & serve...meh.”

As Mayor of Memphis, the activist and often-critic of the police would be charged with leading the city's 2,067 police officers.

"I just thought we had come further than that. If that's the way she feels, I don't think she should be a representative of our city,” was Cooley’s response.

Tami Sawyer was elected to the Shelby County Commission in August of 2018. Just a few months later she announced her bid to run against the incumbent, Jim Strickland, and former Memphis mayor, Willie Herenton.

Another tweet that has many in Memphis shaking their heads, was posted in 2009, one month after Memphis Animal Services was raided and the shelter director was charged with animal cruelty.
It reads: "The lady whose dog got euthanized at the shelter made me laugh. I know it's mean, but she was crying and she just looked crazy."

Sawyer took to Facebook after that tweet resurfaced. There, Sawyer shares a photo of a stray cat she’s recently adopted, apologizing for the tweet, saying she’s “grown significantly in the last 10 years.”

“I’m just speechless. A sign of the times,” Bowen said in response to that tweet.

The campaign has not responded to our requests for comment, but Sawyer did go back to Twitter in defense.

Friday morning, she tweeted, “we can examine my decade old tweet out of context and debate what kind of person I was or wasn’t in 2009. Or, we can examine what’s happening in Memphis today. I’m running because this is life or death for Memphians. The stakes are too high to get caught in this foolishness.”

This summer, I adopted NeYo, a stray cat in my neighborhood. I’ve had him for several weeks now and I love him fiercely....

Posted by Tami Sawyer on Wednesday, September 4, 2019