An Alabama police chief has been suspended for 15 days over comments he made online saying “silence is consent” in sex abuse cases.
Killen police Chief Bryan Hammond has been relieved of his duties by Mayor Tim Tubbs over the comments which he attempted to defend as “sarcasm,” reported AL.com.
Hammond’s made his statements in a comment thread of a TV station Facebook post about Beverly Young Nelson, a woman who accused GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore of attempting to rape her when she was 16.
According to the report, Hammond stated “silence is consent’ with regard to the attempted rape before later attacking candidate Doug Jones.
“On another note, Doug Jones fondled me on a boy scout camping trip in 1978,” Hammond wrote. “I wasn’t gonna say anything, but I just couldn’t stand the thought of him being a senator. I was ok with it until now. By the way, you can’t see me right now but I’m crying as I type this.”
The police chief later added a photo of a hand-written yearbook signature that he attributed to Jones, reading: “Bryan, Thanks for the great time camping. Doug Jones.”
Chief Bryan Hammond released the following statement on the situation:
Last week a friend of mine shared a post on her private Facebook page that was political in nature. I commented on her post in agreement, and we continued the conversation with a few others commenting on the same post. During this conversation I used the term “silence is consent” in reference to people ignoring accusations from the opposing side. One of the others misunderstood the intent of that phrase, so I clarified what my intent was immediately after. After explaining that it was in reference to the shoe being on the other foot, I gave an example by producing a similar example using the other candidate in my example. I joked back and forth with my friend over the comment and we discussed the joke later during a phone conversation.
The following day a reporter contacted me to ask about the post. She advised that someone had taken a photo of the conversation and forwarded it to her. I explained to her that the two comments she was asking about were only portions taken from the conversation. I provided her with the other comments from the post which made it clear that the comments were intended as comedy. I also explained that the example was in no way true and I had never even met the candidate. Later that day the reporter decided to publish an article about the comments.
I am truly sorry for any of my comments that may have been offensive to anyone. I never meant for the comments to be taken seriously, they were meant only as a joke with a friend. I’ve learned from this experience to refrain from any discussion that could be offensive to anyone who might read it, even if the comment were not intended as a public post. The day after the comments were made my friend discovered that someone saw it as something other than a joke as we both intended and she decided to delete the entire post. Once again, I’m sorry for any comments I made that may have been offensive to anyone who read them.