GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – A Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office deputy has been fired after posting an “insensitive” Snapchat photo showing a man lying in a hospital bed.
According to information from the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office, former deputy Joseph Harris was fired Monday afternoon after the Snapchat photo was posted days before.
The photo was captioned with the sentence “Baby sitting at it’s finest” and a graphic at the bottom that said “Nights Like These.”
“We apologize for the discomfort that this incident has caused the patient and the family,” GCSO Assistant Sheriff Carter Weaver said. “We also apologize to the men and women of the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office for having an unwarranted stain placed upon them by the selfish act of one.”
According to a GCSO incident report, the man was being taken to an area hospital on Aug. 21 by deputies to be evaluated after displaying possible mental health or substance use behavior.
The report says the incident started in front of Lowcountry Vision Care, where the mental health patient who has schizophrenia was acting suspiciously.
The report goes on to say he walked past the Bi-Lo next door and then went across Ocean Highway and into the woods. That report says deputies tracked the man down and brought him to the hospital, where Harris is accused of taking the photo.
The man’s sister Prescella Duke stumbled upon the photo when she was looking through Snapchat. She said she just so happened to be Harris’ friend on Snapchat.
“I literally went, ‘Oh my God, that’s my brother,'" Duke said.
Duke was upset with the photo and the caption with it. She hopes this incident can serve as a reminder that people need to treat mental health patients just like everyone else.
“This really needs to be a wake up call for our community to rally more for people that are dealing with these issues and be more honest and open about it, because it’s all around us,” she said.
Weaver added that the incident happened Wednesday, and Harris went out of state for a personal matter after the incident, which is why Weaver terminated him Monday.
Weaver’s statement went on to say, “We also apologize to the men and women of the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office for having an unwarranted stain placed upon them by the selfish act of one.”
Weaver called the photo an “insensitive” and “unprofessional” act that doesn’t reflect the values of GCSO.