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Officer off force after sending e-mail advocating killing millions of Arabs

October 5, 2001

A Griffin police officer said he was fired after sending an e-mail suggesting millions of Arabs be killed and the United States wipe out Arab countries if terrorism continues.

Ray Sanford, a crime analyst at the Griffin Police Department, posted the note to a message board for law enforcement officers two weeks after the attacks on Sept. 11.

"I think 1,000 Arabs must die for each American killed. If they continue their attacks we will simply eliminate the entire Arab world. It doesn't bother me a bit," Sanford wrote in the e-mail.

The message advocated starving the people of Afghanistan to death and bombing Mecca, the holy city of Islam, so Muslims would be forced to pray "at a crater 25 miles across."

Sanford, 58, said Thursday he now regrets sending the message.

"I lost my temper, and I shouldn't have," said the 40-year police veteran. "I don't hate all Muslims. I was speaking of radical Muslims."

Since 1993, Sanford has maintained a Web site for criminalists worldwide. He sent the controversial e-mail Sept. 29 while debating with other members on the site about the attacks.

He said he was speaking his mind as an individual, not as a government employee, but the e-mail he sent out included his title as a member of the city's police force.

"I even sent out a message of apology, saying that should never have been posted," he said.

On Wednesday, Sanford said he was terminated from the force after subscribers to the e-mail list complained to police Chief Armand Chapeau. The chief could not be reached Thursday evening.

Sanford said he has no intention of appealing his termination.

By CHARLES YOO Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer, The Associated Press contributed to this article.


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