Sheriff's condemnation of kneeling during anthem causes a stir

A South Carolina sheriff’s use of a county Fb web page to sentence kneeling throughout the nationwide anthem has elicited sturdy responses of reinforce and disapproval on-line.

In a commentary posted Sunday to the York County Sheriff Place of business’s Fb web page, Sheriff Kevin Tolson mentioned, “I can bow (or kneel) for one entity and one entity simplest — my God.”

“As your Sheriff of York County, here’s my place on taking a knee throughout the Nationwide Anthem,” the commentary started. “Our flag used to be created out of solidarity — 50 stars for 50 states. It represents the melting pot of the entire many nice women and men who’ve made this nation blended and wonderful.”

The commentary continues: “For the ones of you who need to kneel or bow for the flag throughout the anthem, simply know that you’re kneeling or bowing for our God who STANDS for peace, solidarity and love for all — irrespective of race, gender or nationality.”

York County, S.C., Sheriff Kevin R. Tolson.York County Sheriff’s Place of business

“We will be able to STAND for all and KNEEL for the one one — God. Kevin,” the commentary concludes.

The Fb submit had drawn greater than 2,000 feedback by way of Monday afternoon and were shared just about 1,000 occasions. Tolson didn’t straight away go back telephone and e-mail requests for an interview Monday.

William Roddey, a councilman in York County, which is 74.eight % white, used to be amongst the ones not to simplest take exception to Tolson’s commentary but in addition to it being posted to a county Fb web page.

“You do not get to inform me tips on how to protest,” he mentioned in a telephone interview Monday. “As a sheriff’s deputy, you may assume he would err at the facet of legislation and order and no longer put the ones statements out at the legitimate sheriff’s division web page. It is extremely beside the point.”

Roddey, who’s Black, commented at the submit: “I believed we established that protesting and kneeling used to be no longer in regards to the flag however about social injustice? Non violent protest is safe below the celebrities and stripes of the flag!”

Roddey wrote that he wanted other people “would forestall seeking to alternate the narrative and understand this is a matter on this nation.”

“Had it been his non-public web page — and all of us have the ones — he’s completely inside his rights to submit that,” Roddey mentioned. “However if you end up the use of any portion of the county’s running gadget to replicate your own perspectives because the sheriff, I feel that will get in an actual grey space.”

Roddey, who lives within the town of Rock Hill, mentioned the sheriff’s feedback would possibly seem deceptive to someone who visits the York County Sheriff Place of business’s Fb web page as a result of they may well be interpreted because the perspectives of all the county.

He mentioned Tolson’s remarks create “a whirlwind of uncertainty” about how protesters are policed.

“The narrative has all the time been modified to escape from the actual message and the actual factor we are having right here,” Roddey mentioned. “It isn’t in opposition to the flag. It isn’t in opposition to the lads in blue. It is about what is going on throughout this nation.”

Kneeling in protest won prominence in 2016 after Colin Kaepernick, then the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, started kneeling throughout the nationwide anthem ahead of NFL video games in 2016 to protest racial inequality and police brutality in opposition to other people of colour.

The dying of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on Would possibly 25; the March 13 killing of Breonna Taylor in her house in Louisville, Kentucky, throughout a police raid; and the dying of Ahmaud Arbery, who used to be shot and killed by way of two white males Feb. 23 in Brunswick, Georgia, sparked nationwide demonstrations in opposition to police brutality and systemic racism.

Many of us, together with some cops, have knelt as a part of the ones protests, and, in some instances, some officials later expressed remorseful about for having achieved so.

Roddey mentioned that York County is inclusive and respectful and that Tolson’s feedback are divisive.

“We actually come in combination as a group,” he mentioned, noting couple years in the past after a sheriff’s deputy used to be gunned down within the line of accountability, other people of all nationalities rallied at the back of the deputy and across the county’s servicemen and ladies.

“I am positive that is going to reason some rifts within the division for the reason that individuals who paintings for the sheriff’s division who’re African American, what are they interested by the sheriff and that commentary?” he requested. “How do they really feel about running for a sheriff who does not settle for the truth that they could also be subjected to a few racial injustice when they are not of their uniform?”

Roddey mentioned he plans to invite the state lawyer basic whether or not the sheriff is permitted to submit his ideals to a county Fb web page.

Terrell Hutchison, 28, a corrections officer from Castle Mill, additionally in York County, expressed identical considerations in an interview Monday.

Hutchison mentioned that whilst everyone seems to be entitled to their opinion, he believes it used to be beside the point for the sheriff to submit his ideals to a division web page for the reason that York County Sheriff’s Place of business has many people who can not proportion their critiques publicly.

“Simply randomly posting what he did at the division web page used to be unprofessional,” Hutchison mentioned.

Jasmine Mackey, 26, of Rock Hill, commented at the Fb submit Sunday: “I’ve by no means been so ashamed to be a resident of York County.”

“The issue for me is not what he mentioned, even supposing, I do disagree,” she mentioned Monday. “I simply felt that it used to be one thing that are meant to’ve went on his non-public web page no longer a central authority web page on behalf of the entire county.”

Mackey, who works at a greenhouse, mentioned the sheriff is lacking the purpose of why other people protest and kneel.

“How are we, as other people of colour, meant to get our issues throughout if there is something fallacious with the whole lot we do?” she requested. “We march and so they say it is looting and rioting. We kneel and so they say it is disrespectful although I have in my opinion talked to numerous veterans and whether or not they really feel it is disrespectful or no longer they perceive why it is being achieved and it should be achieved.”

What the sheriff posted used to be additionally “out of line” as a result of “he driven faith” on a central authority web page, Mackey mentioned.

However people expressed reinforce for the sheriff’s feedback and applauded him for talking out.

“Amen Kevin,” one York County resident wrote. “Thanks for no longer being scared to position this in the market.”

Trevor Higgins, of Lake Wylie, commented: “Thanks for sharing this! I, for one, am with you and can honor those that have paid without equal sacrifice for our freedom by way of status throughout the Nationwide Anthem!”

Glenda Grigg, who lives in Clover, a small the city close to the North Carolina line, expressed neither disapproval nor reinforce for the sheriff’s commentary.

“Whether or not you compromise or disagree, he’s an elected legitimate so that you will have to need to know his ideals while you vote,” Grigg mentioned Monday. “That is crucial factor within the nation presently, and I do know once I vote, I need to know the place other people stand.”

She added, “We wish to remember the fact that we wish to know the platforms and the place those people stand.”

A next commentary posted at the York County Sheriff Place of business’s Fb web page mentioned that Tolson, who used to be elected sheriff in 2016 as a Republican and is working unopposed in November, were “requested more than one occasions about his emotions on kneeling throughout the nationwide anthem” and that he “determined to put up a commentary about his perspectives the use of social media as a result of he believes that his constituents have a proper to grasp his ideals about this social factor.”

“Sheriff Tolson understands that no longer everybody concurs together with his critiques about this factor,” the commentary mentioned. “The facility to hear and recognize a special opinion is without doubt one of the founding rules of our nation and Sheriff Tolson hopes talking freely will lend a hand to proceed really helpful dialog and in the long run deliver peace and solidarity to our society.”

In his elected place, the commentary mentioned, the sheriff isn’t certain by way of the insurance policies of York County executive referring to the usage of social media.

“Any statements he makes are his personal,” the submit mentioned.

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