A south Georgia sheriff posted a meme to his personal Facebook page in May asking, “Can we get back to the tradition of hanging traitors?”
It didn’t age particularly well.
After a local activist took notice on Sunday and said she was “completely disgusted” by the weeks-old post, Grady County Sheriff Harry Young doubled down, re-shared the post, and appeared to reference the protests currently happening nationwide.
“If you like destroying hard working people’s property because of one officer’s horrible decision then you are the problem !!!” he wrote.
Many posted in support of the sheriff, who is currently serving his fourth term, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Others said he shouldn’t be an elected official.
Young is a frequent Facebook poster, who has also shared several memes in recent weeks expressing support for President Donald Trump, dislike of Rep. Nancy Pelosi and condemnation of the officer charged with murdering George Floyd.
He’s also shared memes about saggy pants, Christianity and ice cream. He most recently shared a years-old post about Florida drug testing welfare recipients.
Young’s office did not immediately respond to a VICE News request for comment. However, Young told the local Thomasville Times-Enterprise that his initial post, about three weeks before protests rocked the country, was referencing “traitors of America in the political field.” “They’re almost like spies,” Young said. “They need to be dealt with, and they used to be, but now it seems like it’s OK.”
He clarified to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he was specifically referencing people like billionaire George Soros, the philanthropic bogeyman of the right. Young also told the paper that he believed former President Barack Obama was a Muslim, who, once elected, “placed them around the country.”
The activist who drew attention to Young’s post, Laura Register, told the Journal-Constitution that she saw Young’s post as offensive, considering the South’s brutal history with lynching. Data show there were two recorded lynchings of black people in Grady County: one in 1890, and one in 1910.
Cover: A Facebook meme "Can we get back to the tradition of hanging traitors" shared by Grady County Sheriff Harry Young. (Source: Facebook)