A Kentucky sheriff said Monday that he’s “glad” a suspect shot by a deputy on Sunday is white so that the department doesn’t face racial backlash.
John Kennedy Fenwick, 25, is expected to survive after police in Bardstown, Kentucky, shot him Sunday, following a long and destructive car chase, The Huffington Post reported.
In a press conference Monday, Nelson County Sheriff Ed Mattingly said he was relieved to know Mr. Fenwick is white.
“We are glad that he is white, and we shouldn’t have to be worried about that,” said Sheriff Mattingly, who is also white. “And we do not want any backlash or violence in this community because people have been misinformed. I think that the public needs to know how the criminal justice system works and … what officers are able to do.”
The sheriff acknowledged heightened racial tensions across the country following the deaths of unarmed black men in New York City, Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri.
“We must take notice of previous cases and how the media has handled those situations. We want the public to be informed and accurately informed. We do not want trouble,” Sheriff Mattingly said, the Post reported. “The media has not done a very good job of informing the public, and the public is not educated on how the system actually works.”
The sheriff told The Post on Wednesday that he was surprised by the negative reaction he’s received since the remarks.
“I don’t want what has happened in these other communities to happen here. I don’t have a magic eight ball to predict the future, I just don’t want that to happen,” he said. “Some people took that comment as being racist, and I had no intention of that coming across that way and I’m sorry if that comment bothered some people.”