Policing in the US: Deputy sheriff mocks BLM, loves the Confederate flag and hates gay people

Policing in the US: Deputy sheriff mocks BLM, loves the Confederate flag and hates gay people
Image via Screengrab.

Josh Wilson, a 26-year-old, sheriff’s deputy in Clarksville, Tennessee, was recently fired for social media posts he made expressing hatred for gay people and the rainbow flag, love for Andrew Jackson (the U.S. President who committed genocide against Native Americans) and mockery for the Black Lives Matter movement.


Wilson was hired by the local police department in 2016, two years before it started reviewing applicants’ social media profiles as part of their background check process. If they had, they would’ve seen Wilson’s troubling statements, which we’ve included below with our rebuttals:

“I hate gay people.”

Since 4.5 percent of all Americans identify as LGBTQ, that means Wilson immediately hates 7,056 citizens in his city of nearly 156,800 people, even before meeting them. This bodes ill if they ever call for police assistance.

“Yes Harriet Tubman deserves to be on some money. She was a great woman in American history. But why penalize Andrew Jackson? He was a great man in American history.”

Harriet Tubman, an anti-slavery abolitionist and strategist in the Civil War, is supposed to replace former-President Jackson on $20 bills in 2030. Regardless, Jackson was not a great American — he was a champion of Native American genocide.

Jackson was a slave owner who instructed the U.S. postmaster general to censor anti-slavery mailings. Through treaties that dishonestly promised land and money that never came, he forced countless Native Americans to march off their homelands and into tiny reservations; his infamous “Trail of Tears” killed thousands of Native Americans due to hunger, exposure, disease and accidents.

“It blows my mind that people don’t find it disrespectful to change the colors of the American flag from red, white and blue to rainbow-colored, but they find it disrespectful to have a confederate flag just because you’re from the south.”

The rainbow flag is a queer emblem of LGBTQ people who take pride in their unique diversity while fighting for equal rights — it represents tolerance and the fight for equality. The confederate flag is a racist emblem of slave-owning white supremacists who literally declared war against the U.S. government over the “right” to own, sell, rape and kill black people for money— it is a flag of anti-U.S. sentiment and racism, which is why the U.S. military and cities have started opposing the flying of the flag and other Confederate monuments.

As Hornet notes in its takedown of people who compare the rainbow and confederate flags, Confederate flags are not merely about Southern Pride and “heritage, not hate”:

The Washington Post pointed out, “The Confederate flag largely disappeared after the Civil War. The fight against civil rights brought it back.” And guess who brought it back? Southern white supremacists who opposed Civil Rights-era legislation meant to integrate blacks into white schools and neighborhoods

A gay man invented the rainbow flag as a way to create solidarity and visibility for the LGBTQ community. The flag was a plea for acceptance and tolerance. It was never about silencing or terrorizing anyone.

It’s also worth noting that the actual Confederacy lasted only five years — the ’90s grunge band Nirvana was around longer than that. Sadly, racism never seems to go out of style.

“Question of the day. If you run over all these people blocking roadways protesting are they gonna call the cops for attempted murder? The people they are protesting against?”

Running over protestors has become a troublingly common right-wing tactic against anti-racist demonstrators. While Wilson didn’t endorse it as a tactic, he misunderstands the goal of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protestors. While some BLM protestors want to abolish or defund the police, they mostly want to end anti-Black policing, criminalization and penal policies that have harmed Black Americans for decades.

As such, the BLM protests aren’t necessarily “anti-police”, they’re anti-racist. Even communities that seek to reform, defund or disband police still acknowledge that some sort of civil peacekeeping and accountability group will be necessary to protect the innocent and restore justice; especially if slam their vehicles into Americans expressing their First Amendment rights to assembly and free speech.

By reducing BLM protestors to being anti-police, Wilson essentially paints them as being against “law and order”, which they really aren’t.

Oh well, Wilson won’t be policing for his community anymore after his posts were discovered.

“It is my job to protect our citizens and enforce the law impartially and without prejudice. In order to accomplish this, I have to have confidence that our deputies share those same values,” said Clarksville Police Department Sheriff John Fuson. “The posts made on social media, do not reflect the character or values of this office.”

“Had these posts been noticed then, the deputy would not have been considered for employment. In light of this incident, more resources will be added to ensure deeper social media background checks,” Sheriff Fuson continued. “Hopefully together we can move forward from this incident.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.