CARBON HILL, Ala. (WIAT) — They thought the post was plainly insensitive.
Less than an hour after CBS 42 was the first to report allegations that Walker County Sheriff’s Office had “likely” placed an incarcerated, mentally ill man, Anthony “Tony” Mitchell, in a freezer inside the local jail, officials with the sheriff’s department had something to say.
It wasn’t a response to the federal lawsuit, filed by Mitchell’s mother, which accused Walker County Sheriff Nick Smith and multiple jailers of neglect that would lead to the 33-year-old’s death in police custody. It wasn’t answers to media questions about Mitchell’s treatment. It was an announcement, posted on the department’s social media page, that deputies would be participating in an exhibition basketball game to raise money for two local schools.
“This week, the Walker County Sheriff’s Office staff will be playing an exhibition basketball game against the staff of Carbon Hill High and Elementary Schools,” the post said in part. “Come watch us take the Bulldogs to the pound!”
The post, which has since been deleted, invited members of the public to the game, which had been set for Wednesday, Feb. 15. Instead, members of the public criticized the department for what they characterized as a “tone-deaf” post.
“I hope every parent is calling the school tomorrow asking if it’s absolutely necessary to parade [them] through the school,” one commenter said.
Around noon on Tuesday, Carbon Hill High School broke its silence about public criticism of the exhibition game.
“The basketball game against the Sheriff’s department, that was scheduled for tomorrow as a fundraiser for our school, has been canceled,” the school announced on its Facebook page.
The ability to comment on the school’s post was disabled as of publication time.
CBS 42 reached out to the school’s principal to ask why the game was nixed but has not heard back as of this writing.