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Arkansas Sheriff Who Was Caught Repeatedly Using Racial Slur Allowed To Resign With Pay

Arkansas County

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

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.”

Wright responds:

“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.

A special Arkansas County Quorum court meeting was held and streamed on Facebook to determine Wright’s fate.

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.

Wright refused.

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.

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.

Ben Acosta

Written by Ben Acosta

Ben Acosta is an Arizona-based fiction author and freelance writer. In his free time, he critiques media and acts in local stage productions.