Georgia Sheriff's Official Who Said Spa Shooter Had 'Bad Day' Accused of Promoting Racist COVID-19 Shirts

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Joshua Espinoza
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Image via Megan Varner/Getty

A Georgia official is facing mounting backlash over his alleged anti-Asian Facebook posts.

Jay Baker of Georgia’s Cherokee County Sheriff’s office has been accused of promoting racist, xenophobic graphic tees that read: “COVID-19 imported virus from CHY-NA.” The posts featured several close-up images of the shirt designs as well as the print shop where they could be purchased.

“Place your order while they last,” a March 30 post was captioned.

“Love my shirt … Get yours while they last,” an April 2 post read.

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The message was shared by an account associated with Baker. As pointed out by the Daily Beast, the page included photos of Capt. Baker in his uniform with his name tag clearly visible. The official did not respond to the outlet’s request for comment; however, county Sheriff Frank Reynolds, told the Daily Beast that he was unaware of the posts in question.

“I will have to contact him,” Reynolds said, “but thank you for bringing that to my attention.”

Baker, who is also the spokesperson for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s office, received heavy criticism on Wednesday while addressing the Atlanta-area spa shootings that left eight people, including six Asians, dead.

Baker confirmed to reporters that 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long had been arrested in connection to the deadly shooting, and shared more details about the suspect’s alleged motive. Baker said Long had taken responsibility for the murders, but said the attack wasn’t racially motivated. Instead, Long allegedly told officers he specifically targeted the spas because he was suffering from sex addiction and wanted to “eliminate” the temptation.

“He was pretty much fed up and kind of at the end of his rope, and yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did,” Baker said.

The spokesperson’s word choice immediately ignited outrage, with many accusing him of downplaying Tuesday’s horrific events as nothing more than a “bad day” for the suspected shooter.

Long has since been charged with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault in connection to the shootings. Georgia authorities are continuing to investigate the attack, which could be classified as a hate crime.

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