Deputy back on the job after blackface incident

CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. -- A Camden County deputy who appeared in blackface at a Halloween party and caused quite a controversy, has been back on the job for several weeks now.

At first, county officials would not comment on how long Chad Palmer would be suspended, but on Friday, they talked about how he was disciplined.

No matter where you are in the south, the image of blackface brings up powerful emotions. That was the case in Camden County.

About two weeks after Halloween, a photo of Palmer became public. It showed black paint covering his face and arms and wearing a jail uniform at a Halloween party.

Community members were outraged at the time.

Sheriff Jim Proctor decided not to fire Palmer, saying he was not a racist, but an outstanding officer.

"He is back full time with the Sheriff's Office. He was given two days off without pay, he went through mandatory training with a therapist, until that therapist was satisfied, in the therapist's own judgement that they were done with whatever they had to talk about. He also went through mandatory sensitivity training. The whole department went through mandatory sensitivity training," Proctor said.

Sheriff's Office Capt. William Terrell said this was an unfortunate incident, certainly a lack of judgement, not indicative of a pervasive racist attitude in the Sheriff's Office or the community.

"I have lived here since 1995. It is a harmonious community, people get along. Every community has issues, but the way people were trying to portray that is not the way this community is, it simply isn't. If it was, I wouldn't live here," Terrell said.

Captain Terrell said Palmer is living with the shame of this still today, but it is not indicative of him.

Terrell said people urged Sheriff Procter to fire Palmer, others urged him to use it as a learning experience, which he did.

Palmer was also put on a year's probation.


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