A candidate for sheriff of Alpena County, Michigan has ignited protests and harsh criticism for a text message he sent using his work phone. In it, he said he wanted to shoot gay men.
Newsweek’s Daniel Villarreal reports that Terry King, who is currently seeking the sheriff office, sent the messages to a relative in October 2013. King attended a wedding where he saw two men holding hands, snapped a picture of the couple, and said he wanted to kill them.
“THESE guys are holding hands. Where is my fricken gun,” King wrote.
“They kiss and stuff Ew,” the relative eventually replied.
King then replied, “Bang bang.”
The texts began circulating last month after a local activist named Bob Reid obtained them through the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. Needless to say, the local queer community has expressed outrage over King’s texts.
“A publicly elected official should not hate anybody. There’s no place for hate in any community,” activist Suzy Langeveld, told The Alpena News. “We’re normal, just like everybody else. We have houses, we pay our bills, we have jobs.”
This isn’t the first time Terry King has come under scrutiny as a law enforcement officer. He became the subject of an investigation into impropriety in 2019, and was forced to choose between resigning and being fired. He chose to resign. Ironically, his boss at the time was county Sheriff Steve Kieliszewski, his opponent in the current Republican primary.