RAPID CITY, S.D. — A Republican state lawmaker in South Dakota faced calls to apologize Tuesday after she shared an image on Facebook depicting protesters being hit by a vehicle under the caption, "All Lives Splatter."
Rep. Lynne DiSanto shared the image Sept. 7, less than one month after a driver plowed through counter protesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring 19 others.
The Box Elder Republican deleted the post Tuesday after it was circulated by members of progressive groups, who called on the lawmaker to apologize.
"To put up a meme that pretty much encourages violence and possibly murder, that's inappropriate. She's a community leader and an elected official," said Lori Miller, a spokeswoman for the group Indivisible Rapid City. "Not only is she inciting violence, she is targeting a certain race of people."
DiSanto, who is the GOP's majority whip in the state House, did not immediately return a phone call requesting comment.
The image she uploaded in a public Facebook post said, "All lives splatter. Nobody cares about your protests. Keep your ass out of the road."
DiSanto in her post added, "I think this is a movement we can all support."
Comments from friends and constituents on the post were initially supportive of the image. After the post was more widely circulated, the tone of comments turned against DiSanto until she deleted the post Tuesday afternoon.
DiSanto is set to again serve as majority whip during the 2018 legislative session unless she opts to step down from the elected position, said Republican House Majority Leader Lee Qualm.
"I don't think that will have an impact," Qualm said. "Obviously I think she wishes she had not put it out there, but she was quick to pull it down and it seems like one of those things you do without putting much thought into it."
Qualm said the move was an error in judgment. He said the party does not condone hitting protesters. A spokesman for the South Dakota Republican Party didn't immediately respond to a call requesting comment Tuesday afternoon.
Heather Heyer, 32, was killed Aug. 8 in a car attack on counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. An Ohio man, James Alex Fields Jr., 20, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, several counts of malicious wounding and one count of hit and run.
South Dakota lawmakers earlier this year passed a bill increasing the penalties for those who trespass in restricted zones. The law that took effect this spring doesn't allow drivers to hit protesters in roadways.
© 2017 USATODAY.COM