An Arkansas sheriff has resigned his position after audio of a racist rant leaked to social media.
Todd Wright, who was elected Arkansas County sheriff in 2017, submitted his resignation on Friday, effectively immediately, according to an NBC News report. He was identified at a public meeting, which was carried on Facebook Live, as the person in a recording spewing racial epithets towards a Black person.
In the five-minute recording, Wright was upset that a Black person spoke to a woman that accompanied him. The ex-sheriff is heard saying racial slurs at the Black person roughly nine times.
The woman on the recording is heard calling slur hurler “Todd,” the sheriff’s first name. The audio later found its way to social media.
The meeting at Quorum Court, Arkansas County’s governing legislative body, was held after local news outlet Pine Bluff Commercial identified Wright as the man using the slurs in a recording. Arkansas County, which is about 72% white and 26% Black, has a population of about 18,000, according to the United States Census Bureau.
Audio of the exchange was shared to social media by writer Shaun King.
County Judge Thomas Best said court members on Thursday decided that Wright should resign.
“It saddens me that anyone would disrespect God’s creation in this manner,” Best said. “No way will I condone this action from anyone.”
Wright submitted his immediate resignation and apologized, stating that he was “upset over certain things.” He said that he isn’t actually a racist person and that the comments came in the heat of the moment.
“That’s not me,” he insisted.
After Wright’s statement, a woman, who identified herself as the mother of the man Wright had the racist exchange with, spoke up to condemn Wright’s actions.
“I don’t appreciate you calling him or anybody else the N-word,” she said. “If you got problems, don’t bring them to work.”
Wright will continue to be paid as contract labor until Sept. 30, per a motion passed by the court following his resignation. The deputy sheriff will replace him until another sheriff is appointed or an election takes place.
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