The Georgia sheriff's official, who said during a press briefing that Robert Arron Long, the man accused of killing six Asian women and two others in shootings at spas in the Atlanta area, had "a bad day", had earlier blamed China for the Covid-19 pandemic on social media. Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office had reportedly posted a photo of T-shirts on his Facebook accusing China of spreading the virus and is now being called racist.
As director of communications and community relations at the sheriff's office, Baker was among the law enforcement speakers who gave an update on the shooting and the investigation on Wednesday. He drew criticism when he said suspected killer Long had "a really bad day" before gunning down eight people — including six Asian women.
In a Facebook post from April 2020, Baker shared an image of T-shirts based off the Corona beer label that said "Covid 19 IMPORTED VIRUS FROM CHY-NA." "Love my shirt," Baker wrote. "Get yours while they last.'"
Interestingly, the posts were removed from Baker's profile after the BuzzFeed News published a story about it, and then less than an hour later, his entire Facebook page was deleted. Baker did not respond to a request for comment about the post.
However, social media users managed to grab screenshots of the post before they were deleted and it is now being widely circulated, with people now calling Baker a racist.
Baker is the communications director for the Georgia sheriff's office, which patrols the area where Long allegedly fatally shot four of his victims and wounded another at Young's Asian Massage on Tuesday night. At their press conference about the shootings on Wednesday, police said it was too early to determine if the suspect was motivated by race, but added that the suspect told officials he had sex addiction issues and targeted the businesses because he wanted to "take out that temptation."
Baker Draws Flak
Not only his earlier Facebook posts but also his comments on Wednesday about Long have left people shocked. At Wednesday's press briefing, Baker said Long "has an issue that he considers a sex addiction and sees these locations as something that allows him to go to these places," without elaborating further on his motive.
"It's a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate. 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.
This left many surprised and shocked with many taking to social media to slam him for his insensitive comments. "I was speechless after watching that press conference. Thanks @divafeminist for laying out what was so bone-chilling about what was named (his "bad day") and what was not named-the misogynistic dimensions of anti-Asian racism. To reckon, we have to denounce every bit of it," wrote one user.
"Dude made a conscious decision to go murder a bunch of people, mostly Asian Americans. That's not a "bad day." Locking my keys in my car is a bad day. This ass**** is a Terrorist! Bottom line," wrote another user.
Baker's post on Facebook at the same time proves that he thinks much like former President Donald Trump. The idea that China is responsible for coronavirus was a common refrain for Trump throughout the pandemic. He frequently referred to Covid-19 as the "China virus" or the "Wuhan flu" even after backlash from public health experts.