"At first, I kind of dismissed it. I looked at it again and said this is something that needs to be taken with action and not taken lightly."
PANAMA CITY — A local radio personality and member of the media has said he’s pursuing legal action against a man who allegedly threatened to hang him.
After contemplating overlooking the June 30 Facebook comment, David "DJ Big Boi" Barnes, 32, who is black, said he made contact with a Bay County Sheriff's Office investigator the day after Brian Green allegedly responded to a comment on a post he too had commented on with, "That’s why y’all ancestors got hung on my grandfather’s apple tree and soon it will happen to you as well."
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"At first, I kind of dismissed it," Barnes said in a phone interview Thursday. "I looked at it again and said this is something that needs to be taken with action and not taken lightly."
The next day, he met with law enforcement at the sheriff's office, where he discovered Green’s alleged threat was more than threatening and generally menacing, it was unlawful — a written threat is a second degree felony in Florida.
"Once I felt that (law enforcement) was going to pursue it, I felt a tad bit safer than what I did," Barnes said. But, "I still move with caution," often examining my surroundings.
The heightened racial tension and awareness currently surfacing across the country likely made the racially-charged threat on Barnes one that could be taken seriously.
BSCO officials confirmed Thursday the case is currently under investigation and is being reviewed by the State Attorney’s Office.
However, Green said in a brief phone call Thursday afternoon that Barnes has made equally threatening statements to him in the past.
"He is more than welcomed to pursue legal action," Green said. "He has made threats to me several times, he has had other individuals call me, threatening me," and has "sent people" to drive by my home.
A woman chimed-in from his background, saying she had "reported" the threats to Barnes’ corporate staff. "He is already on file for his threatening messages," she said, soon after directing Green to hang up the phone.
Still, Barnes said his immediate employer iHeartMedia in Tallahassee has reached out to him to find out more about what his plans are moving forward and to see what role the company could play in keeping him safe and free to do his job.
Based on Barnes’ screenshot post, he has gained much support on social media. The post garnered 134 reactions, 67 shares, and 117 comments — mostly condemning Green’s statement.
Surrounded by family and friends, Barnes said he has gained new strength and plans to pursue the case until the end.
"It has strengthen me," he said. "It’s making me fight a little bit more and makes me want to go on a little more."
I want to see "no more threats," he added. "We’re not taking this any of this stuff lightly ... We’re standing up for what’s right because right is right (and) wrong is wrong. Period."