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Activists Demand Apology For ‘Racist’ Thugshots Tree, So Sheriff’s Office Issues Another ‘Thug’ Post

Mobile, AL – The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) issued a new “Thug Thursday” Facebook post just hours after protesters gathered outside the department to complain about the mugshot-adorned Christmas tree featured in last week’s post.

The festive display, which was topped of with a pair of yellow jailhouse shoes, was posted to the MCSO’s TEAM SHERIFF Facebook page on Dec. 3, accompanied by a brief description of its significance.

“We have decorated our Tree with THUGSHOTS to show how many Thugs we have taken off the streets of Mobile this year!” the post read. “We could not have done it without our faithful followers! #weloveu #thanks4sharing.”

Protesters showed up at the MCSO at noon on Thursday to denounce the department for using the word “thug” in their weekly warrant-roundup posts, WKRG reported.

The demonstration was spearheaded by Faith in Action Alabama (FIAAL).

“Yesterday the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office put out a disgusting Facebook posting entitled ‘Happy Thug Thursday Mobile,’ which included a photo of a Christmas Tree adorned by photos of incarcerated individuals,” the FIALL declared in a press release on Dec. 4. “This type of behavior from law enforcement continues to push the divide between those who have been called to serve and the community that they are supposedly serving.”

The FIALL deemed the MCSO’s post to be “racist” and “deplorable.”

“To celebrate so crassly the arrest of those who may have allegedly transgressed against society but still are members of society paints a picture ‘once a criminal always a criminal’ and traffics in racist tropes,” the group said. “The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office has chosen to make a mockery of mass incarceration and belittle the humanity of incarcerated individuals.”

The FIALL further accused the MCSO of denigrating an “unfortunate segment of our society” in order to “promote” the department’s own success.

“We cannot tolerate, accept, nor pardon the actions of those members of the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office who took part in this deplorable act,” the group announced. “We call on Sheriff Cochran to denounce these actions, impose disciplinary actions on those involved, and mandate cultural sensitivity training for the entire department.”

They gave the sheriff a 72-hour deadline to comply with their demands.

MCSO ultimately deleted the Christmas tree post after receiving death threats and threats to burn down the sheriff’s office, WKRG reported.

Demonstrators issued four demands during Thursday’s protest outside the MCSO, according to WKRG.

They said the department must implement a cultural sensitivity training program, issue an acknowledgement that the post was wrong, admit it was divisive, and write an apology for having posted it in the first place.

MCSO did not respond to requests for comment, according to WKRG.

But within hours of the protest, the department issued its weekly “Thug Thursday” Facebook post, just as it has done in the past.

“It is THUG THURSDAY! #redyellowblackorwhite,” the post read. “Today we are featuring our November 4rth post about our Catalytic Converter THUG. You guys shared his photo and now we have a warrant in his name…JAMIE MICHAEL JEMISON come on down! #prettyplease #withsugarontop #jamiehas23arrest #burglary #receivingstolenproperty #controlledsubstance #criminaltrespass #resistingarrest #probationviolation #unlawfulbreakingandentering #use/possesioncontrolledsubstance #resistingarrest #isjamieathugyet”

The post included a photo of a second suspect investigators are trying to identify, followed by the hashtags, “#wedidnotcallhimathug #yet.”

The MCSO asked for anyone who might recognize the second suspect to contact the department.

“#benice2himifuseehim #thugshavefeelings2 #wedontwant2reuinhislife #heisdoingagoodjoballbyhimself,” the post concluded.

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Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Avatar Written by Holly Matkin

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