A five-minute audio recording of a man repeatedly using racial slurs that went viral on social media finally had its subject positively identified.
Sheriff Todd Wright of Arkansas County, Arkansas was fingered as the man speaking. Arkansas County boasts a higher than national average 25% Black population.
The tweet below contains a portion of the audio.
WARNING: NSFW language
*Warning* Leaked audio of Arkansas Sheriff Todd Wright going on a racist rant after seeing his girlfriend speaking to a Black man at a grocery store. pic.twitter.com/pBIxqPcKdq
— Brad Betts (@870South) August 30, 2020
The recording came from an incident where Wright was upset at an unnamed woman he was with at a Piggly Wiggly grocery store in DeWitt, Arkansas. While shopping, the woman spoke to a Black employee causing Wright to become enraged.
Because of this, Wright calls her an “n-word lover.”
At one point the woman says:
“I don’t know why you’re so mad at me.”
“Why you got to holler at f’king n-words when I’m around?”
The woman defends herself saying:
“Todd, you talk to people all the time.”
The original audio was five minutes long and Wright used the slur nine times in that span. No video of the people talking was captured, but her calling the man “Todd” enabled people to figure out who was speaking.
After finding this out, people called for Wright to resign.
so… WHO WE NEED TO TALK TO TO GET SHERIFF TODD WRIGHT FIRED? CAUSE YEA.
— abby da don. (@liilabb2) August 27, 2020
But here is the kicker, Todd Wright says “I’m not a racist”. Really? Really? PS: Note how they all say that same thing?
— Syimon Templar (@SyimonTemplar) August 29, 2020
Time to make sure the world also knows about Todd Wright, the racist Arkansas sheriff. https://t.co/fi62wP0Qo1
— Joseph "Theo" Rouzan IV (@Theo_the_Writer) August 27, 2020
After using a racial slur 9 times on the recording, Sheriff Todd Wright insists he's not a racist. https://t.co/jZYENMlD0D
— Zora Garm (@ZoraGarm) August 29, 2020
Justice of the Peace Inez McLemore said:
“After viewing and hearing the video I was terribly upset to know that we have someone out here that’s supposed to be taking care of us, protecting and serving to have that kind of opinion of me.”
“I’m using me as a race because of my color.”
Wright defended himself claiming he was not racist and “That’s not me” in remarks to the court, but later said he couldn’t believe his career was being affected by something he said. Wright eventually apologized for any offense the recording caused, but not for his words or actions.
Wright claimed his comments were in the heat of the moment.
At no point could the court have fired Wright, as they lacked the authority. Instead the testimony and recommendations were to decide a course of action. The court voted unanimously to ask Wright to resign.
Dewitt business owner and friend of Wright’s, Bobby Webb addressed him, saying:
“I’ve known you all my life. You need to take that badge and you need to lay it on that table and you need to walk out of here. You know I love you.”
Wright did eventually agree to resign.
He initially refused 2 resign and insisted that he is not racist, even after the mother and aunt of the grocery store employee spoke out.
County Judge Eddie Best called a special meeting and he was forced to resign.
Wonder if he keeps his girlfriend?
— Joan Hussey (@Joanhussey1) August 30, 2020
This is from an article about the racist sheriff from Arkansas. He literally couldn’t believe he was being fired for making racist remarks. Seriously y’all…people like this take their personal beliefs with them every day on the job. Believe them when they show you who they are. pic.twitter.com/QQyuaVGny9
— Miss Aja (@brat2381) August 30, 2020
But, he's not racist, that's not who he is. No, who you're not anymore is the sheriff you piece of garbage. https://t.co/TEdAmqyI86
— Left With No Choice🌹 (@LovinAlPacino) August 30, 2020
He'll be on another police force in…3,2,1
— kcirreD xocaJ (@IamDJacox) August 28, 2020
Remember this racist’s name:
*Arkansas County Sheriff Todd Wright*
…because he will show up in some other town’s police department.
They will give him a new badge, & a new gun, & license to police Black ppl w/vicious hate in his heart.
*Arkansas County Sheriff Todd Wright*
— LilYellowGirl (@lilyellowgirl) August 28, 2020
That said, not everyone is happy with the outcome.
The Quorum court voted Wright will maintain his paycheck through September 30 “out of compassion,” though he will do no actual work to earn it. He will also not be allowed to act as a law enforcement officer during that time.
Chief Deputy Randy Bateman will serve as sheriff until they can hire a replacement.