Captain Jay Baker, of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, spoke about the arrest of Robert Aaron Long during a press conference at the Atlanta Police Department headquarters in Atlanta, Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Captain Jay Baker, of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, spoke about the arrest of Robert Aaron Long during a press conference at the Atlanta Police Department headquarters in Atlanta, Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Official who said spa shootings suspect had ‘bad day’ promoted anti-Asian shirt last year

Six of the eight victims of Tuesday’s attacks were of Asian descent

A Facebook page appearing to belong to a Georgia sheriff’s office spokesman who is helping to investigate the recent massage parlour slayings promoted a T-shirt with racist language about China and the coronavirus last year.

“Place your order while they last,” the March 2020 Facebook post said, along with a smiley face emoji.

The Facebook account, belonging to a “Jay Baker,” features numerous photos of Cherokee County sheriff’s Capt. Jay Baker going back months, including one in which he is in uniform outside the sheriff’s office. The account was deleted Wednesday night.

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

Baker also came under criticism for saying Wednesday that the 21-year-old man accused of carrying out the massacres had 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.

READ MORE: Atlanta-area shootings leave 8 dead, many of Asian descent

Asian American activists said Baker’s comments and the Facebook post undermine public confidence that investigators are adequately addressing Tuesday’s atrocity.

“To see this post is both disturbing and outrageous. It speaks to the structural racism that we’re all up against,” said Vincent Pan, co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, a civil rights organization working to address anti-Asian hate crimes. “Coupled with the comments coming out of the news conference, it does not give community members confidence that our experiences and the pain and the suffering that we’re feeling are being taken seriously, at least by this particular person.”

Before the Facebook page was taken down, dozens of people Wednesday evening decried the shirt’s racist language.

“It’s `jokes’ like these that dehumanize Asian-Americans and lead to violence,” wrote one person.

Six of the eight victims of Tuesday’s attacks were of Asian descent, including two of the four victims who were killed in Cherokee County.

Baker did not respond to voicemails and an email requesting comment on the Facebook post. The sheriff’s office also did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Shooting

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

The District of Peachland seen from the skies over Highway 97. (Contributed)
Peachland council supports RDCO emergency operations grant application

The district’s emergency operations are managed regionally

Elijah Beauregard, 16, was stabbed in downtown Kelowna on June 27, 2019. He died of his wounds three days later in hospital. His family is raising money to put a memorial bench at his favourite skatepark in Penticton.
Young woman charged in stabbing death of Penticton teen pleads guilty

The teen, who can’t be named, will appear in Kelowna Supreme Court Tuesday

A crane stands in the middle of a fire-ravaged Glenmore Road construction site on Thursday, April 8. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Evacuation order remains in effect around burned Glenmore Road construction site

Assessment of potentially risky crane to take place this afternoon

Kelowna-based company GTEC Cannabis Co. has paid off $6 million in debts. (GTEC Cannabis Co. - Facebook)
Kelowna cannabis company pays off $6M debt

GTEC Cannabis Co. is now one of the few debt-free companies in the sector

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read