The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has fired a deputy who wore a sweatshirt that promotes a far-right group whose members have espoused racist, Islamophobic and sexist rhetoric.
Deputy Erin Willey was initially placed on leave and then fired after the Columbian newspaper anonymously received a photo of her wearing a Proud Boys shirt. The newspaper shared the photo with Sheriff Clark Atkins, who investigated the photograph and Willey’s relationship to the group.
The Proud Boys have been a regular fixture at right-wing and white supremacist rallies in the Pacific Northwest. The group was created by Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes and bills itself as a men’s rights group. The Southern Poverty Law Center has categorized the organization as a hate group, and members have regularly engaged in violent confrontations at Northwest rallies.
“Law enforcement officers are peacekeepers whose core mission is to protect and safeguard the community,” Atkins said in a written statement. “My expectation is that my employees do not engage in activities or associations that undermine or diminish our role as peacekeepers.”
Willey was hired in May 2017 and fired this week.