Updated:CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. —
Sheriff Jim Proctor held a news conference on Wednesday to address a controversial photo that shows one of his deputies in blackface dressed as an inmate.
Proctor said Deputy Chad Palmer is on suspension until he feels that it is right for him to return to work. Proctor is also requiring mandatory sensitivity training for Palmer and other members of his staff.
Proctor said the picture of Palmer was taken at a private costume party. He also said that Palmer is not a racist, and was wearing the costume because he thought it was funny.
Proctor was first informed of the image by a lieutenant in his department, then discussed the issue with people within the department and the community.
Proctor said his department pulled statistics on Palmer dating back to 2003 to see if there was any bias in his arrests. According to the Sheriff's Office, Palmer issued 187 charges against blacks and 356 against whites.
Palmer has worked in law enforcement in Camden County for 15 years, and has had a multitude of jobs, including patrol and in the jail, according to Proctor. Palmer also worked for the Kingsland Police Dept. sometime between 2009 and 2012, before returning to the Camden County Sheriff's Office.