It has not even been a week after George Floyd’s death and officers are choosing to voice their thoughts on what transpired in Minneapolis Minnesota, even if thoughts can get them fired.
Jones County Sheriff’s Department corrections officer Hilmon James “Catfish” Gainey took to Facebook to give his two cents.
Under a post that talked about Floyd’s death, Officer Gainey commented that if someone is able to scream “I can’t breathe”, then they are able to breathe.
This myth has been debunked many times since the death of Eric Garner in July 2014, but that does not stop officers from repeating it and this time it cost his job.
Gainey, who was a sergeant within the Jones County Adult Detention Center, posted:
“IF HE CAN SCREAM HE CAN BREATH (SIC), SOMETHING ELSE WAS GOING ON. I’VE BEEN PEPPER SPRAYED WITH CS GAS AND IT MESSES WITH YOUR BREATHING BUT YOU CAN DEFINITELY STILL BREATH (SIC).”
The comment was screenshotted and then accidentally sent to the wrong department at first, but it finally made its way to Sheriff Joe Berlin Thursday night, according to Leader Call.
Jones County Sheriff’s Departments later released a statement on their Facebook:
“WE DO NOT IN ANY WAY CONDONE OR AGREE WITH THE POST. THE INDIVIDUAL WHO MADE THE POST IS NO LONGER EMPLOYED BY OUR AGENCY. “
Petal Mayor Hal Marx made a post on his personal social media account, that was similar to Officer Gainey, according to Leader-Call. They did not provide what the post was and it appears the account has been deleted.
Since the post, the city has held an emergency meeting and a protest has formed outside of City Hall demanding his resignation.
Marx response to the meeting and protest was his refusal to resign saying he would not “surrender to the mob mentality.”
This is not the first time Gainey’s social media activities have been scrutinized.
When Sheriff Alex Hodge was running for a fourth term last year, Gainey was an outspoken supporter. Sheriff Gainey would post numerous times about the sheriff’s race, but those posts went unchecked by the previous administration.
Berlin’s administration has a strict social media policy and immediate action was taken once they were made aware of the comment, Chief Deputy Mitch Sumrall said.
Gainey has since deleted his Facebook account.