A Michigan sheriff is denying that a Grindr account featuring a confederate flag profile image and the headline “White Guys Only” belongs to one of his deputies.
Macomb County Sheriff Anthony M. Wickersham confirmed that images sent from the Grindr account — one of the deputy in uniform, and another of him posing nude in front of a mirror — show one of his employees. However, Wickersham insisted the Grindr account is a fake that was created to smear the deputy’s name.
Wickersham made the comments to Between the Lines, a local LGBT publication, which contacted him after a local resident posted images he received from the racist Grindr on Facebook last week. Wickersham said it’s not the first time the deputy has been targeted. A few months ago, the sheriff received an anonymous email from “a concerned citizen” about the same deputy’s alleged online activities. But the department cleared the deputy after tracking the IP address of the individual who posted the objectionable material, according to the sheriff.
“The deputy denied it, our computer crimes task force went in and looked and we were able to identify the individual that created the account and was trying to smear the name of the deputy,” Wickersham said. “At that point, the deputy didn’t want to pursue anything and the issue was dropped.”
Last week, Wickersham received another anonymous email with the same images from Grindr that were recently posted on Facebook.
“The deputy was immediately notified and, again, denied any involvement in this,” Wickersham said. “And this was turned over to our computer crimes task force to identify the individual that posted it.”
Wickersham declined to identify the deputy involved and said he couldn’t speculate on the perpetrator’s motives in the latest incident.
“Well, at this point, we know what the circumstances were on the first one, and right now it’s just hard to speculate. And nor do I want to say anything as the investigation is going on, but it’s definitely not him that’s posting this kind of stuff online,” he said. “… The pictures up [are] him, and it’s our guy. And we’re working on identifying [the person who posted them], and if we find them we will prosecute the individual responsible.”
Ian Peters posted the images he received from the Grindr account, writing “Do yo thang Facebook. Macomb County Sheriff’s Office.” According to Peters’ post, the Grindr account was associated with the Facebook page of a sheriff’s deputy named “Adam Edward.” The bio section of the Grindr account said “you’d think they’d make an app for just white guys…,” listed the user’s age as 23, and identified his preferred sexual position as “top.”
“I honestly felt the urge to post it to my Facebook, because, for one, why would a cop literally be frolicking around on a gay dating app like that, being straight-up racist and giving out that image and energy?” Peters told Between the Lines. “I just thought it was plain disgusting. And it makes me really upset to know that the people who are supposed to ‘serve & protect’ the community I live in are like that. Especially with everything going on in the world, and a cop from my area is gonna be out frolicking like that? Absolutely disgusting.”
Amid speculation in the comments of Peters’ Facebook post that the Grindr account could be fake, one person said he received similar messages from the same user.
“[N]o he’s real, he’s in the closet too,” the commenter wrote. “Wouldn’t stop sending me nudes. I said I wasn’t going to hookup with him, then never heard from him again. Lmaoooooo.”