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Sheriff who said Atlanta shooting suspect had a “bad day” accused of promoting racist t-shirts

Capt. Jay Baker allegedly shared a link on Facebook promoting anti-Asian hate.

Jay Baker Nicole Craine/ The New York Times

The official with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department who claimed the Atlanta shooting suspect was having a “really bad day” is under fire yet again. On Wednesday (March 17), Twitter users accused Capt. Jay Baker of racism and anti-Asian hate for allegedly promoting xenophobic t-shirts.

One Twitter user found a Facebook post allegedly shared by Baker, which included a link to t-shirts that read: “COVID-19 imported virus from CHY-NA.” In the posts, Baker wrote, “Love my shirt” and “Get yours while they last.”

The Daily Beast attempted to contact Baker to verify whether or not he made the posts, but was unable to reach him. However, the outlet notes that the Facebook account was previously used to post photos of Baker in his sheriff's uniform, with some photos clearly showing his name tag. Daily Beast was able to make contact with county Sheriff Frank Reynolds, who said he was unaware of the posts.

“I will have to contact him,” Reynolds told the outlet. “But thank you for bringing that to my attention.”

Baker received backlash yesterday for comments he made about Atlanta shooting suspect Robert Aaron Long. During a press conference, Baker said Long was having a “really bad day” prior to Tuesday’s shooting (March 16).

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

Many on social media accused the captain of downplaying the horrific tragedy, which took the lives of eight people. On Wednesday evening, Long was charged with eight counts of murder, as well as aggravated assault, and is being held without bond.

Six of the eight shooting victims were Asian women, prompting calls from the public for investigators to pursue hate crime charges. During the press conference, Baker said that Long, a white 21-year-old, claimed the shootings were not racially motivated.

“The suspect did take responsibility for the shootings,” Baker said. “He does claim that it was not racially motivated. He apparently has an issue, what he considers a sex addiction, and sees these locations as... a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate.”

See Baker’s alleged posts about the racist t-shirts below.

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