A longtime Georgia sheriff is taking heat for sharing a Facebook post suggesting that America return to the “tradition of hanging traitors” — but insists his commentary shouldn’t be taken literally.
Grady County Sheriff Harry Young posted a meme on his personal Facebook page on May 8 depicting a painting of prisoners as they were set to be executed, eliciting both critical and supportive comments on the sheriff’s profile.
“Can we get back to the tradition of hanging traitors?” the post read.
The meme caught the attention of Laura Register, a Democratic activist and former county board of education member, who said she was “completely disgusted” by it and other content on the sheriff’s page.
“This is just one example,” Register wrote while sharing the post on her own Facebook profile Sunday. “If you think people that don’t look like him will get a fair chance you need to think again. Silence is complicity and I won’t be silent.”
Hours later, Young shared the post a second time with additional commentary connecting the meme to ongoing protests and looting in the aftermath of George Floyd’s police-involved death in Minneapolis on May 25.
“If you like destroying hard working people’s property because of one officer’s horrible decision then you are the problem!!!” Young wrote.
The response to Young’s latest post was mixed — some people praised him as the “greatest sheriff” in Georgia, while others said he was unfit to keep his job.
“I hope y’all are reporting this to your county officials,” one response read. “A person speaking like this should not be an elected official.”
Young, who is running for re-election in a June 9 primary, did not return a message seeking comment Wednesday. But he said his initial post was in reference to the “traitors of America in the political field,” such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“They’re almost like spies,” Young told the Thomasville Times-Enterprise. “They need to be dealt with, and they used to be, but now it seems like it’s OK.”
Young is serving his fourth term as sheriff, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Young also included liberal billionaire George Soros when asked whom he was referring to with the “hanging traitors” post, according to the newspaper.
“I think they should be dealt with,” Young said, insisting he did not mean for anyone to be executed. “They should be put in prison or something … I’m talking about George Soros and people like him who are funding people going out and funding people who are protesting.”
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