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2 Georgia officers forced out over racist Facebook posts targeting black motorists

By David Reutter

Two white Georgia law enforcement officers were forced out of their positions after racist and sexist remarks they exchanged on Facebook were uncovered.

            The officers were McIntosh County Sheriff deputies when the comments were exchanged. One joke referee to "colored people" and the other used the "n" word. Another showed an image of Martin Luther King and other post from former deputy Brant Gaither said, "I have a dream. That one day my people will not act like animals."

            "Lol. That'll never happen," responded former deputy Jeremy Owens.

           Owens left the sheriff's department to become a police officer in Darien, the county seat.

           The exchanges between Gaither and Owens were discovered when Owens' old computer was issued to another deputy. The computer contained access to Owens' Facebook account, said Sheriff Stephen D. Jessup.

            One comment referenced policing the highways. "It's supposed to rain tomorrow. Might not get too many n**s," Owens wrote. "I hope we get a few but (expletive) if we don't," Gaither replied.

            Jessup said the comments were offensive. "There was never any question of what I needed to do and I did it," he said. "I do not tolerate that in my department."

            The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) sent a lawyer to McIntosh County. "This case goes deeper than two officers caught using racist language on their personal social media pages," said Susan Geraghty, an attorney with SCHR. "The messages reference explicit intent by these law enforcement officials to "get" black motorists. Our investigation to date reveals that this may be the tip of the iceberg."

            Jessup fired Gaither on July 25, 2017, and Owens resigned from his position as a police officer the next day. The local solicitor informed Jessup he may dismiss some cases involving those officers, and Jessup agreed.

Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution

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