Alabama sheriff’s Christmas tree of thugs panned on Facebook

These cops are on Santa’s naughty list.

An Alabama sheriff’s department drew online fury for sharing a photo of a Christmas tree decorated with images of “thugs.”

The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office’s Thursday Facebook post — which has since been deleted — showed a tree adorned with photos of people arrested or wanted for crimes.

“We have decorated our Tree with THUGSHOTS to show how many Thugs we have taken off the streets of Mobile this year! We could not have done it without our faithful followers!” read the post, which was part of a series of “thug Thursday” messages that highlights local suspects.

More than 7,900 people commented on the post, many of them critical of what they saw as demeaning and cruel treatment by the department.

JaTune Bosby of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama said most people arrested for crimes struggle with mental illness and substance abuse. “They need the community’s assistance and care, not open scorn from leaders,” she said in a tweet.

Bernard Simelton, president of the Alabama NAACP, criticized the “despicable behavior by the Mobile County Sheriff’s Department.”

A sheriff’s spokeswomen says the suspects on the tree were repeat offenders and the post was intended to show how cooperation between police and the community on social media can help solve crimes.

“It’s not their first rodeo,” Lori Myles said. “They’ve been continuous with multiple arrests.”

With AP wires

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