Georgia Sheriff’s Spokesman Removed from Case After Saying Suspect in Atlanta Spa Shootings Had a ‘Really Bad Day’

A spokesman for a Georgia Sheriff’s Office investigating a string of massage parlor shootings near Atlanta was removed from the case Thursday after social media posts went viral showing him promoting a T-shirt with controversial language about China and the coronavirus.

Cherokee County Communications Director Erika Neldner announced in a statement that she would be handling media inquiries related to Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation into Tuesday’s slayings.

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The statement did not give details about the status of Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Jay Baker. He has been the target of widespread criticism for Facebook posts promoting the T-shirts and also for saying during a news conference Wednesday that murder suspect Robert Aaron Long, 21, had “a really bad day” and “this is what he did.”

The discovery of the Facebook post came amid concerns from some Asian Americans that authorities are not treating the killings, which mainly targeted women of Asian descent, as hate crimes.

The post Baker urged his friends to “place your order while they last” along with a photo of the T-shirt calling COVID-19 an “imported virus from CHY-NA.”

The post went viral shortly after Baker drew criticism for both seeming to distance the case from being a hate crime while also telling reporters that Long had a “bad day.”

“He was pretty much fed up and kind of end of his rope and yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did,” Baker said during a news conference after Long’s arrest.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Christal Hayes

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