Virginia deputy fired over ‘disturbing’ social media posts on right-wing site

Deputy denies making comments saying account had been hacked

Louise Hall
Tuesday 29 December 2020 15:25
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A sheriff’s deputy in Virginia has been fired after “disturbing comments” appeared from his account on a right-wing social media site, officials have said.

The Prince William County Sheriff’s office said on Saturday they had been notified that “disturbing comments” were being made on “several social media outlets” on Christmas Day by the deputy’s account.

The former deputy has denied making the comments claiming that his account on Parler was hacked, The Washington Post reported.

The office said that the office’s sheriff ordered an Internal Affairs following reports of the posts and the deputy was “terminated from employment" following the conclusion of the investigation.

Several of the comments on the site, which has a significant right-wing user base, advocated violence, including against Chief Justice of the United States John G Roberts Jr,  the newspaper reported.

The comments reportedly attacked Justice Roberts for allowing the dismissal of a case seeking to overturn the results of the presidential election.

According to The Post, one of the messages suggested that Justice Roberts’s life “needs to be shortened."

Prince William Sheriff Glendell Hill told the newspaper: “I find them very despicable, and that’s why I took the action that I took." 

“I certainly don’t approve of that, and, of course, it’s against our policy.”

Aaron Hoffman, the deputy involved, maintains that the account he had recently opened on the Parler was hacked.

“I did not make those posts,” Mr Hoffman told The Post. “I’m trying to figure out who did.”

The former deputy said that he closed the Parler account after he noticed suspicious activity on his email and disavowed the messages.

Mr Hoffman, who had been employed by the county sheriff’s office for 15 years, said he plans to consult with attorneys about his firing and the messages.

“I do understand the community’s concern,” Mr Hoffman said. 

“I’ve been a public servant for over 15 years, and I take that very seriously. I am in no way a threat to the public. This disturbs me as well.”

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

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