Former deputy director will receive county benefits despite racist Facebook posts

(Source: Facebook/WMC Action News 5 Viewer)
(Source: Facebook/WMC Action News 5 Viewer)
(Source: Facebook/ WMC Action News 5 viewer)
(Source: Facebook/ WMC Action News 5 viewer)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A deputy director of Shelby County Corrections Center resigned after posting offensive messages to his personal Facebook page.

A WMC Action News 5 viewer sent photos of the two controversial posts David Barber is accused of making to his personal Facebook page.

One post called the president "Obummer" and the first lady, "Mooshell." Barber wrote that he hoped they are killed in an Arabic country. The other post compared the Ku Klux Klan to the president, saying the white supremacist group was more American than Obama.

"I was offended," Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said. "I think anybody who read it would be offended. It was horrible. It was very offensive."

Luttrell said his department learned of the posts Friday. On Tuesday, Barber resigned.

According to Luttrell, his department began investigating the posts but did not immediately terminate Barber, because the department wanted to exercise due diligence in the investigation.

Since he resigned (as opposed to being fired), Barber will receive his benefits package from the county. Barber worked for the county for around 17 years.

The mayor did say he thought there was a chance Barber would have been terminated if he had not resigned.

"He was very contrite, very apologetic. He recognized that he made a mistake," Luttrell said. "I don't know [why he did it]. That's a question only he can answer."

Luttrell said while the comments were made on Barber's personal Facebook page, that page made it clear that he was an employee of Shelby County. Luttrell said government employees are held to a high standard because they represent the government on and off the job.

"This was an action by an employee who should have known better. What he did, his behavior was intolerable; it was offensive. We afforded him his rights and due process. He recognized his discretion and [resigned]," Luttrell said.

Luttrell said he was not sure whether Shelby County has a specific social media policy, but he said his department will probably begin looking into creating one.

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