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City councilman downplays alleged death threat

City councilman downplays alleged death threat

By Mike Mason. CREATED Apr 25, 2012

FORT MYERS - A Fort Myers city councilman downplaying an alleged death threat he made against a local community activist. Four in your Corner's Mike Mason broke the story last night and has the councilman's side of the story.

Councilman Forrest Banks was hesitant to speak with us tonight about that threat he made but he wants to make one thing clear: he had no intention of killing anyone.

Forrest Banks: "Within 30 seconds after I said it, it was gone from my head."

Fort Myers city councilman Forrest Banks claims what he said about local activist, Anthony Thomas, was not a serious death threat.

Mike mason: "Did you intend to kill Anthony Thomas?”
Forrest banks: “Absolutely not.”
Mike Mason: “Okay so it was just talk is what you're saying?”
Forrest banks: “Talk."

But that talk has Thomas very concerned. After Thomas recently announced his plans to start a petition in hopes of recalling banks from his council seat, Thomas says he was shocked to hear the councilman's reaction.

Anthony Thomas: "I think he's taken our recall effort very seriously so I'm going to take his threat to my life very serious."

Thomas says he found out about Banks’ threat after a city employee filed a complaint with the city's Human Resources Department earlier this month, claiming she heard Forrest Banks openly threatening Thomas if he started that petition drive in his District, which is Ward 5.

In the report to H-R, the employee says she overheard Banks saying quote: ‘Anthony had better be careful because some of his (Forrest Banks) friends lived there and some of those old boys wouldn't like it and he, (Thomas), will end up in a ditch somewhere.’

Mike Mason: "Saying that somebody should end up in a ditch somewhere?”
Forrest Banks: "Figure of speech, just talking."

Thomas says he's taking it seriously and filed a report with the Lee County Sheriff's Office. Something Banks says he's not too worried about.

Mike Mason: “What would you say to Anthony Thomas?”
Forrest Banks: “Gee, Anthony, bring it on I guess. What else can I say, that's what he wants to do."

The Lee County Sheriff's Office is investigating this case. At this point, Banks has not been charged with a crime. He says when Thomas called him at his home he apologized for making that off-handed remark.