An Estherwood, Lousiana policeman is off the force, following public outcry over a racist Facebook meme.
Let’s be clear, Wayne Welsh wasn’t some newbie — he was the assistant chief. So, the expectation for good judgement was higher, as it should have been. However, a glimpse into his social media profile clearly displayed the contrary.
Welsh flew under the radar for quite some time. According to an article on KATC’s web site, Welsh was known to share “posts that: call women in burquas ‘trash bags,’ make fun of Democrats, in particular female elected officials and Michelle Obama, make fun of overweight women and of women who receive child support.”
Then it happened. He shared a meme that took it way over the line.
The meme shows a picture of a white mother holding her daughter’s head underwater in a bathtub. The caption reads: “WHEN YOUR DAUGHTERS (sic) FIRST CRUSH IS A LITTLE NEGRO BOY”.
Welsh posted this on the evening of Sunday, July 30. Then next morning, city officials received a number of calls and electronic communications expressing outrage. At first, Welsh dug in, striking a combative tone. He posted that what he shared was not illegal and, later, accused some of playing the “race card.” However, by day’s end, he realized that he was fighting a losing battle. By 5pm, Wayne Welsh apologized.
Welsh’s situation rippled through the city. The city council was forced to weigh in on what they would do. Ultimately, they responded by saying the police department handles its own hiring and firing decisions.
So, this left Police Chief Ernest J. Villejoin to decide what punishment, if any, Welsh would receive. Before the chief could announce his decision, Welsh announced he would resign, effective the evening of August 1.