A Tennessee deputy director has resigned after posting disturbing racist and violent messages on his Facebook, including one calling for the deaths of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
David Barber, former deputy director of the Shelby County Corrections Center, wrote numerous hateful posts about Obama.
“If TRUMP wins and obummer cannot start martial law, he will run to his new mansion in thaArab world to hide,” Barber wrote in one post. “Hopefully the Muslims will eliminate him and mooshelle as queers.”
In another post Barber shared an article in which Obama talked about being discriminated against while serving in the White House. The Free Patriot wrote on the post, “Hit LIKE if you’re ready to see this smug loser out of the White House!”
Barber wrote his own comment: “Arrest convict hang and confiscate all assets.”
“The KKK is more American than the illegal president!” he also wrote.
Barber voluntarily resigned on Tuesday after officials discovered his Facebook profile, which has since been deleted, last week.
Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell Jr. called the posts “horrible” and “very offensive.”
“I think anybody who read it would be offended,” he said.
Shelby County, Tennessee, is 53.5 percent Black and 32.9 percent white. On Election Day, 61.43 percent of the county voted for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, and 34.23 percent voted for now President-elect Donald Trump.
Barber worked for the county for 17 years, having served as deputy director for two years. Prior to that he was the center’s administrator of finance. Because he resigned and was not fired he will still receive benefits, WBTV reported.
According to Luttrell, no disciplinary action was or will be taken against Barber because he was exercising his right to free speech, despite the nature of his comments.
“It’s freedom of speech and he’s not representing the county,” Luttrell said. “I think the best we can hope to do is to counsel him very sternly and tell him that that’s not the behavior we expect of our leaders.”
But in a press release, Luttrell said, “Anyone in a leadership position at Shelby County Government is held at a high standard of behavior, both on and off the job.”
The statement announcing Barber’s resignation came from the office of William Gupton, director of corrections. According to Gupton, it is not his decision on whether or not to discipline Barber.
“It’s not my call,” Gupton, who is Black, explained. “It is the CAO [chief administrative officer] and the mayor’s office call. It was my call to make sure they had all the information pertinent to the issue.”
However, Melvin Burgess, commission chairman, slammed the administration’s handling of the situation and questioned why Barber was not immediately fired.
“We’re getting calls now from employees who can’t believe they’ve been working around a man with this level of insensitivity,” Burgess said. “There is no prescription for those kind of beliefs and attitudes. There is nowhere this should be accepted and I am disappointed in the leadership and how it was handled.”
Luttrell said he was not sure if Shelby County currently has a social media policy in place for its employees but that he would look into creating one if it does not currently exist.
Two state officials in West Virginia also lost their positions this week due to inflammatory Facebook posts about the Obama family. Pamela Taylor formerly served as the director at the Clay County Development Corporation in Clay, a non-profit organization, until she was fired after calling Michelle Obama an “Ape in heels.”
Former Clay County Mayor Beverly Whaling posted back, “Just made my day, Pam.” Whaling resigned this week after insisting she had “not intended to be racist at all.”