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Sheriff’s Out-Of-Context Quotes About Atlanta Shooter Spark Outrage

(Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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Numerous people claimed that a spokesman for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office defended alleged Atlanta, Georgia, massage parlor shooter Robert Aaron Long after taking the spokesman’s comments out of context.

“Um, when I spoke to investigators – they interviewed him this morning – and they got that impression, that yes, he understood the gravity of it and he was pretty much fed up and he kind of at the end of his rope and yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did,” spokesman Capt. Jay Baker said during the Wednesday press conference.

 Baker was responding to a reporter’s question about the alleged shooter’s motive and awareness of the situation.

However, many people only included part of Baker’s comments, such as, “Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did,” and claimed the comments excused the alleged shooter’s actions instead of relaying the shooter’s characterization of his own mindset. (RELATED: Olivia Munn, LeBron James And More Stars Call Out Violent Attacks On Asians After Atlanta Shooting)

Vincent Pan, co-executive director of the group Chinese for Affirmative Action, claimed Baker’s statement “does not give community members confidence that our experiences and the pain and the suffering that we’re feeling are being taken seriously,” according to ABC 11.

Democratic California Rep. Ted Lieu called for the FBI to investigate the shooting, following a report from the New York Times that Baker had promoted a shirt calling COVID-19 an “imported virus from Chy-na.”

Long’s motive for the shootings, which left eight dead in three massage parlors, remains unclear. Long told police investigators that he blamed the massage parlors for “providing an outlet for his addiction to sex,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Activists are calling for the shootings to be investigated as a hate crime, since six out of the eight victims were Asian women.

President Joe Biden described the shootings as “very troubling,” although he acknowledged that “the question of motivation is still to be determined.”

Some reports have suggested that hate crimes against Asian Americans have become more prevalent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Democrats, including Vice President Kamala Harris, have blamed former President Donald Trump for the uptick, despite the fact that many of the assaults have occurred in heavily Democratic areas of the country, such as New York City, Oakland and San Francisco.

Editor’s note: This piece has been updated to reflect the context of Baker’s statements.