Alabama sheriff’s office’s ‘Thugshots’ Christmas tree photo sparks backlash

The Mobile County Sheriff's Office posted to Facebook a photo of an office Christmas tree that was photoshopped with mugshots

Loading the player...

The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office in Mobile, Alabama, came under fire this week after posting a photo of its office Christmas tree, adorned with mugshots of people they’ve apprehended, on social media.

The Facebook post, which went up on the agency’s official page, referred to the mugshots as “thugshots.” The photo has gone viral and is stirring some outrage in the community as the caption made light of people who have been apprehended by the department this year.

“We have decorated our Tree with THUGSHOTS to show how many Thugs we have taken off the streets of Mobile this year! We could not have done it without our faithful followers!” the post read.

READ MORE: Alabama boy, 5, killed after being forced to leave a car as punishment

It went on to jokingly address any lawbreakers, or as they wrote, “MOBILE COUNTY THUGS,” that they had a “Christmas special” for them. Correctional officers were described as a “personal conceirge” there to “escort” them to a “FREE COVID TEST,” referencing mandatory coronavirus tests prisoners are given.

The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office came under fire after decorating an office Christmas tree with what it called “Thugshots.” (via Mobile County Sheriff’s Dept)

The post went on to say that the criminals would be given a “‘custom fitting’ to receive your Holiday jumpsuit with matching ‘flap flops’.”

The now-deleted post received nearly 80,000 comments and was shared more than 4,000 times, WKRG-TV in Mobile reports.

A screenshot of a now-deleted Facebook caption posted to the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office’s official page with a photo of an office Christmas tree decorated with mugshots.

The Mobile sheriff’s office has received harsh criticism for the Christmas post. Bernard Simelton, head of the Alabama NAACP chapter, condemned the post, calling it “despicable behavior by the Mobile County Sheriff’s Department,” The Birmingham News reports.

READ MORE: France President Macron calls racial profiling ‘unbearable,’ announces survey

According to WKRG-TV, the “thugshots” were photoshopped onto the Christmas tree before it was posted by the sheriff’s office. Mobile Sheriff’s spokesperson Lori Myles stated that “thug Thursdays” on Facebook are a regular weekly initiative that posts photos of people in the area who are wanted.

“The thug tree was to show how many people we have arrested by putting them out there (on social media) and having the community sharing that we were looking for those people in which led to an arrest,” Myles said. “It’s a good thing. It’s a good thing in a community that they have taken these career criminals off the streets. We were thanking them and showing the results of Thug Thursday.”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...