A white man was arrested and charged in the Tuesday (March 16) tragic shootings at three Atlanta-area spas and left eight people dead, including six Asian women. During a press conference on Wednesday (March 17), Cherokee County Police Captain Jay Baker said the suspect, Robert Long, had a “bad day.”
The comment fueled criticism online and now, social media posts Baker allegedly made last April have resurfaced.
The Facebook post was reportedly made in April 2020, according to BuzzFeed News, and includes an image of a T-shirt that parodied the logo of Corona beer and read “COVID 19 IMPORTED VIRUS FROM CHY-NA.’
“Love my shirt,” Baker wrote in the caption. “Get yours while they last.”
Law enforcement officials wouldn’t say that race played a role in the shootings during the press conference, but Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CNN “it’s very difficult to ignore that the Asian community has once again been targeted.”
“I’ll leave it up to the prosecutors to determine what other appropriate charges may be warranted as it relates to hate crimes,” she stated.
Anti-Asian violence has surged since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, attributed in part by xenophobic comments about the virus spewed by former president Donald Trump.
According to Stop AAPI Hate, an anti-racism organization, there have been 3,800 reported incidents of discrimination against Asian Americans since last year. The report found that women were more likely victims in reported attacks.
Social media users reacted to Baker’s comments, some calling out officials for centering the suspect’s narrative.
CNN reported that Long’s court appearance scheduled for Thursday (March 18) was cancelled at the request of the defendant’s attorney. According to the outlet, no specific reason was given, and a new date hasn’t been set.
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