Oakland County deputy fired over racist social post depicting vice president-elect Kamala Harris as a watermelon

Posted at 11:46 PM, Nov 16, 2020

OAKLAND COUNTY (WXYZ) — The Oakland County Sheriff's Office said a longtime employee was fired for what some are calling a racist Facebook post.

The post features several pumpkin carvings named after presidents and a watermelon carving which apparently attempts to depict Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

The employee identifies themselves as a retired and part-time employee with the sheriff's office. Detroit Branch NAACP President, Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony called the post racist.

"It grows out of [the] past and a recognition that often is linked to buffoonery and to less than," Dr. Anthony said. "Yes, I believe that the intent was purposely structured to diminish and to dilute the significance of the first African American.... as vice president of these United States. To some people ignorance is bliss."

Watermelons for long have been used as a racist trope in the African American community, dating as far back as the Civil War.

Inkster Police Chief William Riley said the post furthers the country's divide and makes the job for men and women in blue more difficult.

"It does not help," Chief Riley said. "That's why we condemn it and condemn it loudly."

Oakland County Sheriff's Office released a statement that read in part: "The day this post came to our attention, this part-time employee was immediately terminated and is no longer employed by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office."

7 Action News reached out to the employee who responded via text with a statement saying, “I worked hard in my law enforcement career and I am proud of the reputation I earned in my 30 plus years of service. I’m not a racist and never will be.”

The former employee did not respond to a follow-up message. The sheriff's office said the post has been taken down.