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Government official in Washington city apologizes for offensive meme in work email

A government official who serves the secretary of state in Sumner, Washington, has issued an apology for an offensive meme he claims to accidentally have sent in a work email.

Sumner Councilman Patrick Reed, who works as government affairs manager for the Secretary of State, recently sent an email to some co-workers that contained a meme that joked about Black or Mexican people automatically being guilty if they appear in court.

Reed penned a public apology on Facebook on Wednesday for the meme, which he claims he accidentally sent.

“On August 9, I replied to an email at work and selected the wrong meme from search results. In a rush, I copied and pasted an image without verifying what I was sending,” Reed wrote on Facebook.

“In no way do I agree with the sentiment of that meme. I am deeply sorry for my mistake. My first reaction was to reach out to those that received the email to apologize, but by that time it was part of a confidential HR investigation,” he continued.

“I am aware now that I can make a personal statement. I wanted to respond as soon as possible to express my sincerest apology to everyone affected,” the statement reads. “I hope that this can be accepted for being the horrible mistake that it was.”

Reactions to the Facebook post were mixed, with some commenters saying the apology was not enough.

“You should resign. Your behavior is inexcusable,” said one user. Another wrote, I am Mexican and this is very offensive. You should not be working for the government. I am going to file a complaint.”

The Secretary of State’s office issued a statement on the incident that read, “As a matter of policy, we do not comment on any ongoing issues involving our employees. The Office of the Secretary of State takes all matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion very seriously.”

They continued, “We expect all employees to uphold the office values of integrity, service excellence, visionary leadership, and collaboration in every aspect of our duties. Further, we require all employees to foster an environment of dignity and respect within our office and with those we serve.”

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