Captain Jay Baker, a spokesperson for the Cherokee County, Georgia sheriff's office, sparked outrage when he characterized Robert Aaron Long, the spree killer behind the shootings at a series of Asian spas on Tuesday, as having had a "very bad day."
But according to The Daily Beast on Wednesday, the controversy surrounding Baker may be just beginning — because he also has a history of racist anti-Asian content on social media.
"In a Facebook page associated with Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee Sheriff's Office, several photos show the law enforcer was promoting T-shirts with the slogan 'COVID-19 imported virus from CHY-NA,'" reported Pilar Melendez and William Bredderman. "'Place your order while they last,' Baker wrote with a smiley face on another photo that included the racist T-shirts. The photos on Baker's account were first spotted by a Twitter user."
According to the report, "When contacted by The Daily Beast, Sheriff Frank Reynolds, who appears to be friends with Baker on Facebook, said he was not aware of the racist photos. 'I am not aware of that. I will have to contact him but thank you for bringing that to my attention,' Reynolds said."
Some of the rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans in the past year is attributable to paranoia that they are the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
Police are not treating the incident as a hate crime so far; Long has confessed to the killings, but told police officers he was suffering from "sex addiction" and saw the women who worked in the spas as an intolerable temptation to his baser urges. White supremacists have frequently sexualized Asian women based on persistent stereotypes of their submissiveness.