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Alabama sheriff's office deletes photo of Christmas tree with 'thugshots' after backlash

After an attempt at holiday humor, an Alabama sheriff's office is receiving backlash for posting on social media a photo of a Christmas tree decorated with "...

Posted: Dec 7, 2020 4:08 PM

After an attempt at holiday humor, an Alabama sheriff's office is receiving backlash for posting on social media a photo of a Christmas tree decorated with "thugshots."

The Mobile County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) posted a photo of an office lobby Christmas tree digitally altered with mugshots made to look like ornaments and orange slippers as a tree topper to its Facebook page Thursday, CNN affiliate WPMI reported.

The slippers are issued to inmates at the Mobile Metro Jail.

"We have decorated our Tree with THUGSHOTS to show how many Thugs we have taken off the streets of Mobile this year! We could not have done it without our faithful followers!" said the caption.

The post sparked outrage in the community that led the sheriff's office to remove it from social media.

"This is inappropriate, shameful, disrespectful, despicable, disgusting and embarrassing to the citizens of Mobile County," Mobile County's NAACP chapter President Robert Clopton said in a statement Friday. "We live in a very volatile time...I mean, the relationships between law enforcement and the general public has been compromised."

Faith in Action Alabama, a religious organization fighting systematic racism, also criticized the post in a release Friday as dividing law enforcement and the community.

"We cannot tolerate, accept, nor pardon the actions of those members of the Mobile County Sheriff's Office who took part in this deplorable act," said Faith in Action Alabama. "We call on Sheriff Cochran to denounce these actions, impose disciplinary actions on those involved, and mandate cultural sensitivity training for the entire department. We expect this to be done in the next 72 hours."

Executive Director of the ACLU of Alabama JaTaune Bosby said, "The majority of people arrested for crimes struggle with mental illness and substance use issues. They need the community's assistance and care, not open scorn from leaders."

In a post shared on the organization's Facebook page Friday, Bosby said, "We hope the Sheriff and his employees hear the resounding disdain their actions have brought and realize this type of divisive and cruel messaging does not serve the community."

According to WPMI, the sheriff's office also received death threats and threats its building would be burned down if the post wasn't removed.

"We have removed our latest post on social media from Thug Thursday. There is no post more important than the lives of our deputies and the work they do in our Community. The death threats, fire to our building and other negative messages were not from our community, however, if this post jeopardizes the relationship between law enforcement and other communities then we felt it best to remove it," MCSO spokesperson Lori Myles said in a statement.

Myles told CNN the Sheriff's office was surprised to learn of interest in the orange slippers. The office has received multiple requests from the public to buy them, which the office might allow, Myles said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751242

Reported Deaths: 13795
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1032931788
Lake556911009
Allen41692692
St. Joseph36990565
Hamilton36588417
Elkhart29398461
Tippecanoe22901226
Vanderburgh22556400
Porter19356325
Johnson18471389
Hendricks17682317
Clark13226195
Madison13149344
Vigo12614253
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Monroe12207176
Delaware10966198
Howard10321225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8576146
Bartholomew8169157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7811180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6966103
Morgan6761141
Dubois6218118
Marshall6209116
Cass6016110
Henry5900110
Dearborn589878
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Gibson444894
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Scott270156
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Jay200932
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Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1108736

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287201467
Cuyahoga1157922211
Hamilton813971250
Montgomery525481043
Summit484271001
Lucas43353820
Butler39013606
Stark33332929
Lorain25672505
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Lake21207388
Clermont20117253
Delaware18852136
Licking16662222
Fairfield16574204
Trumbull16548482
Medina15610271
Greene15281248
Clark14237306
Wood13292200
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Allen11913239
Richland11605211
Miami10849225
Wayne9141223
Columbiana9032230
Muskingum8906135
Pickaway8663122
Tuscarawas8649250
Marion8642138
Erie8056165
Ashtabula7160179
Hancock6998132
Ross6944161
Geauga6838151
Scioto6534106
Belmont6157174
Union584549
Lawrence5731102
Jefferson5678158
Huron5546122
Sandusky5442126
Darke5420129
Seneca5348128
Washington5319109
Athens523960
Auglaize502187
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4571112
Madison444266
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432074
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Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3855105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359665
Williams348278
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Guernsey324953
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285450
Hardin275265
Henry273467
Holmes2701101
Coshocton269060
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Adams243256
Pike242835
Gallia240650
Wyandot234556
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148440
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85517
Unassigned03
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