Earle Farrell, spokesman for the Shelby County, Tn., Sheriff’s Office in Memphis, has been suspended for remarks on the agency’s Facebook page on the arrests of two Cuban immigrants on theft charges, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal. With photos, the post said, in part, “BUSTED! These two recent immigrants from Cuba found out you don’t take merchandise from a store in America and not pay!” The material was taken down, and Sheriff Bill Oldham “apologized for those comments which did not represent his sentiments or those of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office,” his deputy said.
Farrell, a former television reporter with WHBQ-TV Channel 13, was hired last year. After the post, many called it racially insensitive for pointing out the nationality of the two people arrested. The post emphasized the suspect’s nationality “and had a different tone that we think was disrespectful and unacceptable,” said Fabiola Granada of Latino Memphis. The sheriff’s office bans employees from using “forms of speech that ridicule, malign, disparage, or otherwise express bias against any race, any religion, or any protected class of individuals.”