State Watch

Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office removes spokesperson after controversial comments on suspect

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office in Canton, Ga., on Thursday removed Capt. Jay Baker as spokesman for the Atlanta spa shooting spree case after he made controversial comments about the suspect on Wednesday, The Washington Post reported.

A reporter for WSB-TV tweeted that the office is evaluating Baker’s future with the department.

Calls for Baker to resign began after he made comments about the shooting suspect, Robert Long, that downplayed the severity of his actions, which resulted in the deaths of six Asian women and two others.

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

Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds apologized for Baker’s remarks on Thursday, as criticism against the department mounted.

“On behalf of the dedicated women and men of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office we regret any heartache Captain Baker’s words may have caused,” Reynolds said in a statement, ABC News reported. 

Reynolds continued on in defense of Baker, saying his comments “were not intended to disrespect any of the victims, the gravity of this tragedy, or express empathy or sympathy for the suspect.”

The Tuesday shootings have led to a slew of protests across the nation, as advocates condemn anti-Asian sentiment, which has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to The Hill’s requests for comment.

Tags Georgia Jay Baker shootings States of the United States

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