KNOXVILLE, TN (WBIR/ NBC News) — A veteran Tennessee sheriff’s office detective and Baptist pastor is under fire for calling gay, bisexual and transgender people “freaks” and “reprobates” who deserved to be executed by the government.
Grayson Fritts, a 20-year Knox County Sheriff’s Office veteran, delivered his remarks after having already quietly decided to accept a buyout from his police job.
Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen issued a statement, saying she found the speech “personally offensive and reprehensible.”
“As District Attorney, my constitutional obligation is to protect the integrity of the justice system. When any potential witness in a criminal proceeding expresses an opinion of hatred and/or bias towards a class of citizens, I am ethically bound to explore that witness’ credibility,” she said.
Allen said she will be reviewing all pending cases involving Fritts and scrutinize them for potential bias.
Along with being an investigator, Fritts pastors the All Scripture Baptist Church, which identifies itself as an “independent, fundamental, King James Bible only, soul-winning church.”
In a June 2 sermon at the church, Fritts said gay people “were worthy of death” and should be tried and executed by the government. Policemen, he said, had a duty to carry out their roles in seeing that gay people are prosecuted.
Sheriff Tom Spangler issued a statement Wednesday afternoon. It reads:
“Detective Fritts turned in his request for The Knox County Voluntary Workforce Reduction Buy Out approximately two weeks ago. I accepted his request. Detective Fritts is no longer on active duty with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, he is currently on paid sick leave until the effective date of the workforce reduction which will be July 19, 2019. I want to be very clear that it is my responsibility to ensure equal protection to ALL citizens of Knox County, Tennessee under the law, my oath and the United States Constitution without discrimination or hesitation. Rest assured that I have and will continue to do so.”
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