Dougherty Commission chairman-elect accused of using homophobic slur

Video from WALB
Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 6:21 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The incoming Dougherty County Commission Chairman Lorenzo Heard is accused of using a homophobic slur toward an Albany City commissioner.

As WALB News 10′s Molly Godley questioned City Commissioner Jalen Johnson, he said this is part of an ongoing issue between him and Heard.

Johnson said this goes back to when he was running for city commission last year. He said Heard made false allegations about him on his radio program. When Johnson recently confronted Heard about those allegations, he said Heard crossed a line.

Video from WALB

On Wednesday, the City of Albany and Dougherty County commissions were hosting a joint meeting. After that, Johnson said Heard walked up to shake his hand.

″I made the statement, ‘do you think it would be an appropriate time to address the lies and untruths you disseminated against me when I was running for office,’” said Johnson.

Jalen Johnson is the Ward 2 Albany City Commissioner.
Jalen Johnson is the Ward 2 Albany City Commissioner. (WALB)

Johnson said Heard responded with “I stand by what I said” and then called him the homophobic slur.

“I was stunned. I was shocked for a pastor of a large delegation and, quite frankly, the chairman-elect of a county commission to use such language towards a 22-year-old elected official,” said Johnson.

Current Dougherty County Chairman Christopher Cohilas said he had just stepped out of the room when this supposedly happened, but when he returned the tension was obvious.

″It was obvious there was a lot of tension. I did not become aware of the comments that were made until the next morning when I learned from numerous people that witnessed it,” said Cohilas.

Cohilas added he does not condone that type of language and that it leaves a big stain on the community.

Dougherty County Chairman Christopher Cohilas said this could impact investments in the county.
Dougherty County Chairman Christopher Cohilas said this could impact investments in the county.(WALB)

″It does not send a message that we are progressive frankly. It’s very embarrassing, and I had to spend a lot of time yesterday responding to inquiries about this. It impacts whether or not we’re going to get an investment, that’s how I see the lasting impact from this,” said Cohilas.

Johnson said if Heard continues to defame him, he will look at seeking legal action.

Heard takes his seat as county commissioner chairman in January.

WALB News 10 reached out to Heard several times for a comment about this incident but has not heard back.

Copyright 2022 WALB. All rights reserved.