South Carolina sheriff's condemnation of kneeling during anthem causes a stir - NBC News
Sep 14, 2020 2 mins, 4 secs

A South Carolina sheriff's use of a county Facebook page to condemn kneeling during the national anthem has elicited strong responses of support and disapproval online.

In a statement posted Sunday to the York County Sheriff Office's Facebook page, Sheriff Kevin Tolson said, "I will bow (or kneel) for one entity and one entity only — my God.".

"As your Sheriff of York County, here is my position on taking a knee during the National Anthem," the statement began.

William Roddey, a councilman in York County, which is 74.8 percent white, was among those to not only take exception to Tolson's statement but also to it being posted to a county Facebook page.

"Had it been his personal page — and we all have those — he is perfectly within his rights to post that," Roddey said.

Roddey, who lives in the city of Rock Hill, said the sheriff's comments might appear misleading to anyone who visits the York County Sheriff Office's Facebook page because they could be interpreted as the views of the entire county.

"I'm sure this is going to cause some rifts in the department because the people who work for the sheriff's department who are African American, what are they thinking about the sheriff and that statement?" he asked.

Roddey said he plans to ask the state attorney general whether the sheriff is allowed to post his beliefs to a county Facebook page.

Hutchison said that while everyone is entitled to their opinion, he believes it was inappropriate for the sheriff to post his beliefs to a department page because the York County Sheriff's Office has many individuals who cannot share their opinions publicly

Jasmine Mackey, 26, of Rock Hill, commented on the Facebook post Sunday: "I have never been so ashamed to be a resident of York County."

What the sheriff posted was also "out of line" because "he pushed religion" on a government page, Mackey said

A subsequent statement posted on the York County Sheriff Office's Facebook page said that Tolson, who was elected sheriff in 2016 as a Republican and is running unopposed in November, had been "asked multiple times about his feelings on kneeling during the national anthem" and that he "decided to publish a statement about his views using social media because he believes that his constituents have a right to know his beliefs about this social issue."

In his elected position, the statement said, the sheriff is not bound by the policies of York County government regarding the use of social media

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