BROOKHAVEN, Ga. — A local police lieutenant is off the job for taking what some are calling racially offensive pictures with blackface statues.
A Channel 2 Action News investigation revealed the Brookhaven police officer only resigned after a coworker spoke out against the picture of him with the statues.
Someone sent it in a group text.
Channel 2's Carl Willis has been looking into this case for about two weeks. That's when Willis received the tip and requested documents including a resignation letter and the picture that crossed the line.
Chris Shelton was a supervising officer who helped build Brookhaven's Police Department from the ground up.
But the former lieutenant resigned after a cellphone image surfaced with him posing with a subordinate officer and two smiling blackface statues.
Local residents said the photo was insensitive.
"It's disrespectful. That's what they used to do back in the day when they used to paint their faces and all that," said resident Dejuan Goodwin.
An internal investigation called the images degrading to the black race. They were sent out in a group text message to fellow officers.
"It says volumes about the police department in general. Not just because of the photo but because there's other officers who know how this gentleman feels," said resident William Johnson.
The department's investigation also found that the former lieutenant refused to obey a lawful order from a superior when he was placed in charge of applying for a grant.
That, along with findings that he created an insulting environment led him to resign in lieu of being fired.
A man who answered the door at Shelton's address refused comment.
In a statement, the Brookhaven police department wrote:
"We take our standards of conduct very seriously, and violations of these standards will not be tolerated."
Willis also found that Shelton is the president of the North Georgia Fraternal Order of Police.
Another officer was fired in a separate investigation. He is currently appealing.