Georgia: Did this sheriff make anti-Asian remarks after spa shootings?
Following the violent shooting where a white gunman murdered eight people, including six women of Asian descent, in three massage spas in Atlanta, many people all across the country were outraged when the shooter was not immediately charged with hate crimes. What was even more infuriating for folks was that the officers who spoke out about the incident downplayed the issue as the gunman having a “bad day”.
Many were confused, shocked, and furious that Capt. Jay Baker, the officer who was the spokesperson on the shooting, made some comments that were seen as inappropriate & insensitive to victims. To no surprise though, it turns out that the officer himself has been exposed for being a part of racist anti-Asian attacks as well. Find out the details here.
On Wednesday, Capt. Jay Baker, the spokesman for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday at a news conference that Robert Aaron Long, the gunman responsible for eight counts of murder on Tuesday evening, “was pretty much fed up and kind of at the end of his rope”, and added that Tuesday “was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did”.
Baker added to reporters that “He apparently has an issue, what he considers a sex addiction, and sees these locations as something that allows him to go to these places, and it’s a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate”, and specified that Long informed officers there was no racial motive behind the attack. Of course, these comments came off as incredibly insensitive to the victims of the incident.
NBC News reported that “experts and activists said it was nearly impossible to divorce race from the discourse – regardless of whether Long will be charged with a hate crime – given the historical fetishization of Asian women, which has made them uniquely susceptible to sexual and physical violence”.
Exposed for racism
While many were confused by the insensitive comments by Capt. Jay Baker who attempted to downplay the incident as the gunman having a “really bad day”, Baker’s ignorant comments seem to make a lot more sense now that the officer himself has been exposed for taking apart in anti-Asian remarks on his social media recently.
After those controversial remarks were made, screenshots surfaced from a Facebook post made by Baker from back in March of 2020 that promoted anti-Asian T-shirts. In the post, Beker posted a photo of T-shirts that read: “Covid 19 IMPORTED VIRUS FROM CHY-NA”, and endorsed the shirts with the caption of the photos: “Place your order while they last”.
NBC News announced that Capt. Jay Baker from the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday, and it appears that his Facebook page is no longer available.
Rise in anti-Asian hate crimes
With former President Donald Trump calling COVID-19 virus “China Virus” and many racist folks referring to it as “Kung Flu”, it’s no surprise that these words have led to a surge in hate crimes against Asian Americans this past year. NBC News reported nearly 3,800 anti-Asian hate crimes were reported this past year, with women reporting 2.3 times more than men, according to the research by the reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate.
“I think the reason why people are feeling so hopeless is because Asian Americans have been ringing the bell on this issue for so long. … We’ve been raising the red flag”, Aisha Yaqoob Mahmood, the executive director of the Atlanta-based Asian American Advocacy Fund told AP News.
The Atlanta Police Department has said in a statement released Wednesday night that “Beyond processing evidence from the scenes, investigators are taking a hard look at what motivated the shooter. Our investigation is far from over and we have not ruled anything out”.