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An employee of a Savannah, Ga., sheriff’s office was fired after he was caught on video at McDonald’s telling a young Latina that she came to the United States “on a f***ing boat.”
Chatam Country sheriff’s officials said at a press conference that they performed an internal investigation into the incident involving jail maintenance mechanic Walter Browning. Sheriff John T. Wilcher then made the decision to terminate Browning’s employment.
The student, identified as 19-year-old Cristina Riofrio, said on Twitter that she was speaking to her friends at a Savannah McDonald’s in Spanish on Saturday night when Browning began yelling racist statements at them.
The video starts with Browning telling Riofrio, who is Ecuadorian, that he worked for years in the U.S.
“What did you do?” he then asks. “You come on a f***ing boat.”
“Shut up!” he then barks at her. “Shut the f*** up!”
The video went viral Sunday and continued to trend on social media, with many calling for the man to be identified and fired.
In a press conference Thursday morning, Sheriff John T. Wilcher said, “We are gonna distance ourselves from these type of people, I’m not gonna tolerate it, I’m very transparent. I’m gonna make sure that we’re taken care of and my people are taken care of, and I’m not going to tolerate nothing like this in my organization.”
When asked when he was first made aware of the video, Sheriff Wilcher said, “Probably about 9 o’clock yesterday morning. I had no clue about it. But by 9:30 or 10 o’clock he was gone.”
The sheriff confirmed that Browning was a mechanic who had worked for the department for about three years, and added that he was shocked by what was in the video.
“I’m always shocked,” Wilcher said of the incident. “I’m very transparent that I’m not gonna tolerate…out in the public anyone that works for this office, or anyone that works in the jail, anyone that works for me. I’m not gonna tolerate it.
The sheriff, who seemed visibly aggravated, continued, “I don’t do it, you don’t do it, none of y’all do it, none of my staff does it. You might have your own personal thinks or beliefs, but don’t say it around me and don’t work for me.”
It’s heartwarming to see an elected official, especially in the deep south, stand up against bigotry.
As for the ignorance of the bigot who was fired; English is filled with words taken directly from other languages and many that are only slightly altered. There are many terms in common use such as Cinco de Mayo, Kaput, RSVP (Répondez s’il vous plaît). They have become part of our lexicon.
The United States has no official language nor is there a need for one. If there were, people who are illiterate such as Gruel would be on the first deportation cruise for violating the Right Way To Speak Act of 2021.
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