A law enforcement official in the U.S. state of Georgia is facing criticism for appearing to promote a tee-shirt with racist language relating to China and the coronavirus in a Facebook post. Cherokee County sheriff’s Captain Jay Baker is helping to investigate Tuesday’s deadly shootings at three spas in the Atlanta area. Six of the eight victims were of Asian heritage. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are expected to meet leaders from the Asian-American community on Friday. William Denselow reports from Atlanta.
The calls to stop attacks against Asian-Americans are growing louder and louder. The suspect behind Tuesday’s shooting spree says it was fueled by a sex addiction, but investigators are assessing whether racism played its part.
“He was pretty much fed up was at the end of his rope and yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did,” said Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
Baker’s comments Wednesday have been criticized for downplaying the series of shootings that left eight people dead, six of whom were of Asian heritage.
He’s also accused of promoting a T-shirt with racist messaging about China and Covid-19 on social media last year.
“That’s a good example as to why hate incidences in America are being underreported, it’s because incidences like these, we can see that there’s some sort of unconscious bias in this police officer and so it starts to build distrust,” said Thu Nguyen, Director of the OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates.
Baker hasn’t immediately commented but that Facebook account has been deleted.
Many members of the Asian-American community here believe Tuesday’s shooting is part of a broader issue of rising discrimination nationwide.
Some local residents believe more attention needs to be paid to this issue.
On Friday, President Biden and Vice President Harris will travel to Georgia to speak with Asian American leaders about how the nation can come together after a tragic week.