OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. — A Tennessee hospital has fired an employee who was recorded in a viral photo wearing a T-shirt with a noose and a Confederate flag to the polls in Mississippi.
Another voter at the polling station in Olive Branch shared a photo of the man, identified by WREG as Clayton Hickey, wearing the shirt, which read, “Mississippi Justice.”
On Thursday, Regional One Health in Memphis, Tennessee, confirmed the man in the photo was an employee at the hospital and that he had been fired after a thorough investigation.
“As of today, November 8, 2018, we have completed our investigation and what we learned led to the termination of the employee in question,” the hospital said in a statement. “Regional One Health holds employees to a high standard.
“We are committed to upholding our mission to provide compassionate care and exceptional services to all. This includes fostering a safe and protected work and care environment for all. Behaviors contrary to these principles are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
It said it is taking the matter seriously and is “committed to a safe, secure and comfortable environment for its patients, guests and employees.”
“He’s nice as far as I have seen,” one of Hickey’s neighbor’s told WREG. “He came out and helped me do some stuff. I don’t think he’s wanting to start trouble. He gets caught in a lot of trouble.”
The neighbor, who didn’t want to be identified, was apparently referring to an incident years ago when Hickey resigned from the Memphis Police Department. He was caught in a car with a 17-year-old girl and alcohol.
“He just gets caught in all the wrong situations,” the neighbor said.
When asked if he thought Hickey’s shirt was racist or not, the neighbor replied, “It’s hard to say for me.”
Many social media users felt it was clearly racist, calling it “sickening” and “shameful.”
“They try to intimidate you to keep you away from the polls, and I think that’s the exact reason we need to go,” the voter who took the photo said. “What makes you feel that comfortable? He knew what he was doing.”
While some found the shirt deeply offensive, Mississippi election officials said no laws were broken and that the only clothing you can’t wear to the polls is clothing that shows a candidate’s name or face.