AN ARKANSAS sheriff who was recorded saying the N word at least nine times has resigned in shame following public backlash.
Sheriff Todd Wright, of Arkansas County, resigned Friday evening during a public meeting on the incident at the county's Quorum Court, about 85 miles southeast of Little Rock.
The two and a half hour hearing was held after a local news outlet, the Pine Bluff Commercial, identified Wright as the male heard in a five-minute audio recording delivering a racist rant that went viral.
Wright, who adamantly refused to resign, used racial slurs nine times as he described how a woman he was with spoke to a black person in a grocery store.
Throughout the clip, the woman, believed to be Desiree Middlebrooks, the mother of Wright's child, refers to Wright as "Todd."
The man in the recording uses a racial slur against Black people about nine times.
Wright tells Middlebrooks, “Shut up you f***ing n***er lover! … Every motherf**ker in this store and you gotta talk to the f**king (inaudible) n***er. Right there in front of me, like y’all f***ing best buddies. It is a big f***ing deal. People f***ing see me and see you talking to f***ing n***ers.”
During Friday's meeting, Wright insisted he was not racist.
'F***ING N***ER LOVER'
Slouched in his courtroom chair, he addressed the room of 90 stating what was done was in the privacy of his own home.
He blamed his actions on the devil and said the video was recorded because he was mad at Middlebrooks because he missed a funeral of his friend, who was Black.
He also mentioned many of his Black constituents whom he had formed bonds with.
He said: “I’m a Christian man. I read my bible everyday.
“I am by no means a racist. That video does not show the true picture of me.”
"That's not me," he added.
Wright has been with the sheriff's office for 26 years, spending the last four elected as sheriff.
'YOU SAY IT, YOU MEAN IT'
Arkansas County Justice of the Peace Inez McLemore was revolted and expressed the fear she had for inmates at the 136 capacity county jail which the Sheriff Department oversees following the incident.
“After viewing and hearing the video I was terribly upset to know that we have someone out here that’s supposed to be taking care of us, protecting and serving to have that kind of opinion of me – I’m using me as a race because of my color.
“If it’s in your heart, in your mind and you say it, you mean it,” said McLemore. “What you did on that video brought a world of separation.”
“If the head is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt,” McLemore said.
A close family member of the man he was referring too, believed to be his mother, was at the hearing.
'IF YOU GOT PROBLEMS, DON'T BRING THEM TO WORK'
Following Wright's remarks she excoriated him, saying she doesn't know why Wright felt the need to call her son, whom she described as a hardworking man with two jobs, "names like that" over and over.
"I don't appreciate you calling him or anybody else the N-word.
"If you got problems, don't bring them to work." she told him.
The victim's aunt, Betty Wofford, told the court: “The guy he was speaking of, that’s my nephew.
“He wouldn’t come here today. He doesn’t like this kind of stuff but he’s hurt.”
“I don’t believe anything you just said. You have to say this stuff because you want to keep your job,” said Wofford who also expressed how Wright has not engaged himself with the community of DeWitt in his position as Sheriff.
“I don’t feel that was right for you to call him out of his name like that,” she said stating her son hasn’t been back to work due to hurt and embarrassment.
“I do wish that you would resign or get fired.”
'TAKE THAT BADGE AND SET IT ON THE TABLE'
County Judge Thomas Best said the court's members decided Thursday to ask for Wright’s resignation after the recording began circulating on Facebook the day before.
Judge Best said: “It saddens me that anyone would disrespect God’s creation in this manner.
“No way will I condone this action from anyone.”
Wright eventually caved to public pressure as the room turned on him.
Following an empassioned speech from his long term friend and former officer, Bobby Webb, Wright resigned in tears.
Webb, who said he has known Wright for decades, told Wright: “Todd, I’ve known you all my life. You need to take that badge and (set) it on that table and walk out of here Todd.
“You know I love you, but you screwed up. Lay that badge down, lay that gun down and walk out of here.”
After accepting Wright's resignation, the court also passed a motion to allow him to continue to be paid as contract labor until September 30, but not as an active law enforcement officer.
The county's chief deputy will serve as sheriff until a replacement is appointed or a special election is held, Best said.
The Arkansas County Sheriff has been approached for comment by the US Sun.
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