*WARNING: This video contains sensitive content which some people may find offensive and disturbing. *
UPDATED FRIDAY, OCT. 30 AT 12:45 P.M.
JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Friday, Jessamine County’s Sheriff says Joshua Fite handed in his resignation Thursday and was accepted immediately.
Fite’s resignation are following his participation in a homophobic video on social media, he also shared, earlier this week.
The Sheriff’s Office says the actions portrayed in the video do not reflect the values of the Sheriff’s Office nor the code of ethics deputies are required to uphold.
— ORIGINAL STORY BELOW —
JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – A Jessamine County deputy was suspended Wednesday without pay after he appeared in a homophobic video posted on TikTok October 27, 2020, according to authorities.
Officials at the Jessamine County Sheriff’s Office said, Deputy Joshua Fite, who is in uniform in the video, faces disciplinary action as a result of the video, which was posted on another person’s site.
Lt. Anthony Purcell confirmed the internal investigation and the deputy’s identity.
Deputies say the other person in the video is not associated with the Sheriff’s Department.
The issue has opened a new debate among social media users.
In a post on the department’s Facebook page, Sheriff Kevin Corman, said he had directed a deputy to remove “a video to their personal Facebook page that had content that is degrading and demeaning. As the Sheriff of Jessamine County I would like to assure you this type of behavior is not condoned and will not be tolerated by this office. As Sheriff, I strive to provide services to Jessamine County free of discrimination and that reflects equality.”
“As part of our policy regarding social media usage I immediately ordered the Deputy to remove the post and the content was removed from his page. The behavior in question will be addressed and additional training will be provided to insure no future incidents like these occur. Please accept my sincere apology for the unprofessional and derogatory content of the deputy’s post,” Corman concluded.
Many viewers applauded the sheriff for his actions. But some suggested the deputy posted the material on his personal page and should have had a right to exercise free speech. The issue became more important because the deputy is wearing his taxpayer-funded attire.
Most government agencies have policies covering social media actions. The courts have ruled those policies are acceptable, in most cases, because employee behavior sheds light on the entire organization and can call into question judgement and bias.
As described in a WTVQ story recently, social media is increasingly a difficult situation for law enforcement because of issues it can raise with the public.