Georgia official sparks outrage with bizarrely sympathetic comments about suspected mass murderer

Georgia official sparks outrage with bizarrely sympathetic comments about suspected mass murderer

In the Atlanta area, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long is the suspect in a series of violent attacks on Asian spas that left eight people dead — six of them Asian women. Cherokee County Sheriff's Capt. Jay Baker, discussing the investigation with reporters at a joint news conference with Atlanta Police this week, expressed bizarrely sympathetic-sounding comments for the suspect — triggering a backlash on social media.

Baker said of Long, "He was pretty much fed up and has been kind of at the end of his rope, and yesterday was a really bad day for him. And this is what he did."

Long, according to the Daily Beast, told law enforcement that he was struggling with sex addiction and described the massage parlors as "a temptation" that he that he "wanted to eliminate."

On social media, Baker's comments are inspiring a conversation about racism and criminal justice in the United States — and some Twitter users are observing that if the suspect were Black, a sheriff wouldn't be talking about the person having a "really bad day" when he was suspected of having just murdered eight people at random.

According to The Atlantic's Jemele Hill:

Angela Chen, a reporter for KESQ-TV — the ABC affiliate in Palm Springs, California — tweeted:

Here are some other reactions to Baker's comments:

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.

DonateDonate by credit card

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.