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He was Suspended for Sharing a Racist Meme. Now He’s the Chief of Police

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Back in 2017, Wayne Welsh, then assistant police chief, shared a meme on Facebook that many deemed racist. After sharing the image, Welsh was suspended from his job. However, when a police chief position opened up last year, he served in the position as the interim chief for nine months. Last November, he ran unopposed, landing the job by default.

The controversial image that Welsh, an Estherwood, Louisiana police officer, shared on Facebook showed a mother holding a blond child’s head under water while in a bathtub. The caption read: “Where your daughter’s first crush is a little n**** boy.”

Initially, Welsh explained that he shared the image after seeing it posted on his Facebook wall. He added that he did not believe it was racist.

“’I just don’t feel like I should have to resign on this because there is not a policy saying I can’t do this on Facebook,” Welsh stated at the time. “To me, I’m not racist and I knew it wasn’t. It was a picture that everybody shared and you can get on anybody and still see it. It’s still there, but I was wrong for sharing it for being a police officer.”

Welsh, according to a report by the Daily Mail, did apologize for sharing the image after he was suspended. He also insisted that the incident was not an accurate reflection of how he conducts himself as a police officer, though he did ultimately resign from his position.

“’I treat everybody the same and you can ask anybody in town, if you walk around. They all like me and I do my job right,” Welsh asserted.

Last year, when a police chief position became available, Welsh was selected to serve as the interim police chief, remaining in that role for nine months. In November, he ran unopposed, enabling him to secure the position with ease.

Addressing the controversy regarding the image, Welsh said in an interview, “What happen(ed) two years ago is behind me and my punishment was done to me and now I’m moving forward with my life and as the new chief of police.”

Welsh’s Facebook account, which is no longer up, also featured numerous other memes, including one comparing Muslim women wearing black burkas to trash bags. He also poked fun at various female politicians, particularly Democrats, and former first lady Michelle Obama, as well as mocked female recipients of child support.