Arkansas County Sheriff Todd Wright recently resigned after pressure from the county’s Quorum Court, but not before one final pathetic attempt at salvaging his reputation.
The incident leading up to this involved a conversation Wright had with Desiree Middlebrooks, the mother of his child. They were at a local grocery store when Wright saw Middlebrooks in a pleasant exchange with a Black employee. That, apparently, set him off.
Here is the leaked audio of Arkansas Sheriff Todd Wright, who is FURIOUS that his girlfriend spoke to a Black man at the grocery store.
Every case this man EVER TOUCHED must be reopened or dismissed.
He’s an overt bigot.
Imagine how his racism has fueled his policing. pic.twitter.com/ghcLxqETVf
— Shaun King (@shaunking) August 30, 2020
She secretly recorded Wright as he expressed his rage, referring to [the employee] as a dread head n***** and calling the mother of his child a n***** lover.
The Quorum Court met on Friday to talk about the incident in a public setting. The judges didn’t have the power to fire him, but they introduced a resolution calling for his resignation. Members of the community spoke out against his racism:
“I traveled a long ways to let you know Todd, it’s unacceptable,” [activist Jackie Smith] said. “You wonder why we riot. You wonder why we loot — because you’re teaching us what hate is. That is not what we want to do.”
“This is ridiculous. This is shameful. Todd you need to resign,” said [Attorney Furonda] Brasfield. “When I heard that audio, I did not jump to conclusions but I was taken back. It was unbelievable but it was believable because we live in Arkansas County. This is not the first racist officer that’s been allowed to run [rogue] in this county.”
And what was Wright’s response to all this? He insisted he wasn’t racist and couldn’t be a racist because he’s a Good Christian Man. If he said anything racist, it was the Devil’s fault.
With his body language slouched in his chair, he addressed the room stating what was done was in the privacy of his own home. Blaming his actions on the devil, Wright said the video was recorded because he was mad at Middlebrooks because he missed a funeral of his friend, who was black, trying to locate her.
“I’m a Christian man. I read my bible everyday,” said Wright. “I am by no means a racist. That video does not show the true picture of me.”
See? He’s not a racist. He’s just a guy whose vocabulary includes the N-word, which he just drops casually into conversation when he’s mad, but please take your wrath out on Satan because it’s all his fault…
Wright seems blissfully unaware that racism runs rampant in religious communities, especially white Christian ones. Always has. At least now, some of the historically worst groups are coming to terms with it. Even the GOP, which relies on the support of its white evangelical base, constantly promotes racist policies; it’s not like Donald Trump‘s evangelical supporters are bothered enough by it that they wouldn’t vote for him again.
So to use Christianity as a defense against racism is both pathetic and ignorant.
The good news is that Wright seemed to buckle under the weight of everyone’s words. Even though he intended to defend himself, by the end of the meeting, he tended his resignation. Though even then, he claimed to suffer from PTSD and the Quorum Court promised him a month’s salary to get his life back in order. (“He has children,” said one Justice of the Peace.)
At least he’ll be gone. The Christian racist will have to find a new line of work. He can’t be trusted to protect people when he sees an entire race as beneath him — and believes himself to be a righteous man because of his faith.