It’s a picture of a cartoon mother drowning her young daughter in the bathtub. Underneath the picture, it reads “When your daughters (sic) first crush is a little Negro boy.”
An assistant police chief in Estherwood, Louisiana posted that to his Facebook page on Sunday, according to multiple reports and screenshots taken by social media users.
The post quickly provoked public outrage, with the Estherwood Police Department and Estherwood City Hall receiving multiple calls about Wayne Welsh’s post on Monday, according to KATC.
“I didn’t know anything about it until 10 this morning,” Police Chief Ernest Villejoin told KATC Monday. “A woman called from Houston to tell him about it. I apologize for the post. It is too soon to say if there will be any disciplinary action at this time.”
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Welsh’s first instinct was not to apologize for the picture, however. He made a follow-up post on Monday, according to screenshots posted to the City Hall Facebook page, that read “Its (sic) not against the. Law if you share stuff on. Facebook. Its (sic). Social media. Internet.” Facebook friends of his also defended him.
He also posted about people using the “race card” and that the “Facebook police” were mad at him.
By 5 p.m. Monday, Welsh had changed his tune and apologized, according to KATC.
“Well, I posted something on Facebook that made a lot of people mad,” he wrote. “Well, I’m sorry for what happen (sic). Ya (sic) have a blessed day.”
Villejoin told KADN on Tuesday that Welsh would be resigning Tuesday night, saying he had to take action because those views don’t reflect the police department. Villejoin originally said he was just planning to suspend Welsh and tell him he wasn’t allowed to be on Facebook while working for the department.
But Villejoin also defended Welsh, who he told KADN has been his friend for years.
“I know Wayne didn’t do this on purpose. He didn’t do this offend anybody,” Villejoin said. “I apologize to anybody that it offended, believe me.”
Many people expressed their outrage in a post on the Estherwood City Hall Facebook page, which claimed City Hall had no authority over the police department’s actions.
“As a police officer with 21 years of service I am totally disgusted with the behavior of this officer,” one man wrote. “His page is rife with racist and bigoted memes. He represents your town and you department with his racist posts and you should take swift action in response to it.”
“Wow. you guys have police officers that hate black and Muslim people,” another wrote.
The above comment was referring to another post made by Welsh, which referred to Muslim women wearing burkas as “trash bags.”
Welsh frequently posts about guns, police matters, support for fallen officers (including black officers), making fun of Democrats and support for President Donald Trump, according to KATC.