don_gaetz_2.jpegTALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Black lawmakers are criticizing Florida state Sen. Don Gaetz for making a reference to hanging in comments to the media.


The Niceville Republican, who chairs the Senate Reapportionment Committee, said on Friday that he meant no offense.

Gaetz on Thursday made the comment in regard to nonpartisan groups planning to mount legal challenges to the Legislature's redistricting plans.

He said his father “used to say some people would complain if you hung them with a new rope.''

Sen. Arthenia Joyner, a Tampa Democrat, and other black lawmakers said the comment was insensitive because it evoked Ku Klux Klan lynchings.

Gaetz said his father had horse thief hangings in mind, not racist lynchings. He said he was sorry if offense was taken.