GA Police Spox Who Boosted Racist Shirts, Said Alleged Spa Shooter Had ‘Bad Day’ Removed From Case

Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office speaks at a press conference on March 17, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images)
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March 19, 2021 9:25 a.m.

Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia will no longer be involved in the county’s investigation into the deadly spa shootings following several controversies over his conduct.

Cherokee County Communications Director Erika Neldner announced on Thursday that she would replace Baker as the spokesperson for the case, per the Associated Press and the Washington Post.

She did not provide a reason for Baker’s removal. However, the change comes in wake of the outcry over the captain’s astonishing remark that Aaron Robert Long, who allegedly gunned down eight people, six of whom were women of Asian descent, at three spas in the Atlanta area this week, had had a “really bad day.” Additionally, BuzzFeed News and the Daily Beast published on Thursday several posts on Baker’s now-deleted profile from last year in which he encouraged people to buy racist shirts that said COVID-19 was an “IMPORTED VIRUS FROM CHY-NA.”

In addition to Neldner’s statement, Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds, who had defended Baker earlier in the day, told local news outlet WBS-TV on Thursday that his agency will “have to look at Jay’s future at the Sheriff’s Office and what it looks like.”

“We haven’t made that determination yet,” the sheriff said.

Reynolds had issued a statement in support of Baker several hours earlier, stating that the captain’s comments about Long were “not intended to disrespect any of the victims” and that his “personal ties to the Asian community and his unwavering support and commitment to the citizens of Cherokee County are well known to many.”

The statement did not address Baker’s Facebook posts.

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