The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office recently fired a part-time deputy for posting a photo depicting Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as a carved watermelon, according to reporting by local station WXYZ Detroit.
Deputy Sherry A. Prose uploaded the post to Facebook on Halloween. It featured several pumpkin carvings depicting President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and President-elect Joe Biden. A separate photo included in the post featured Harris as a watermelon instead of a pumpkin.
"Trump, Biden, Pence and Kamala. Happy Halloween," she captioned the post.
Watermelons have long been used as a racist and degrading stereotype against Black people. Detroit Branch NAACP President Reverend Wendell Anthony called out the post for its use of racist imagery. “Yes, I believe that the intent was purposely structured to diminish and to dilute the significance of the first African American… as vice president of these United States,” he said. “To some people ignorance is bliss.”
Others on Twitter seemed to agree with Anthony, pointing out the pervasive issue of racism in police departments. “This is some straight up KKK stuff,” one user tweeted Wednesday morning in response to the post.
Prose identifies herself as a retired and part-time employee of the sheriff’s office, according to her Facebook page. Prose reportedly told 7 Action News, another local station, that she is “proud of the reputation I earned in my 30 plus years of service” and is “not a racist and never will be.”
In a statement released by the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, the post has since been removed and the part-time employee was immediately terminated.