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LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – The Lawrence County Republican Party is under scrutiny after the organization’s Facebook page used a photo of a GOP elephant that contained Ku Klux Klan imagery. The party’s new chairman is also facing calls to step down from his role on the county’s school board.

Lawrence County Republican Party Chairman Shanon Terry released a statement about Sunday’s incident to News 19 on Thursday:

I will not be resigning from my elected office on the Lawrence County School Board. The voters of District Four elected me to represent them and I am proud of the accomplishments of this administration over the past six years. I look forward to continuing to strive to give every student in Lawrence County the best opportunity to be successful.

I regret the mistake that was made, and it was just that- an unintended mistake. The image posted by me on a political Facebook page was not done with any malicious or harmful intent. Once made aware of the negative portion of the picture I immediately replaced it and followed up with an apology/explanation the next day. My error was rushing to post a thank you note to the outgoing chairperson, in doing so I did not properly review a cut and paste image used in that post from an internet search for a “GOP elephant”. I do not support or agree with any hate group agenda and certainly would not try to further their cause.

I strive to be an open and honest person who works to be a positive influence in my community. I feel I am being incorrectly portrayed by some over this unfortunate issue. I have apologized, taken responsibility for the post, corrected the image, and posted an explanation. I know that these actions to address this regretful error may not satisfy everyone, but I believe they demonstrate the sincerity of my feelings on this matter.

Lawrence County Republican Party Chairman Shanon Terry

The image “temporarily appeared” on the organization’s Facebook page Sunday night where the white spaces between the elephant’s legs appear to be hooded figures. The post was taken down later that night and then reposted with a different GOP elephant image.

The original post on the Lawrence County Republican Party Facebook page

On Monday afternoon, Terry posted an apology.

I would like to offer a deep and sincere apology for a picture that temporarily appeared on this page last night. A google search picture of a GOP elephant was used and later found to have hidden images that do not represent the views or beliefs of the Lawrence County Republican Party. The picture was then immediately replaced. As chairman I take full responsibility for the error

Lawrence County Republican Party Chairman Shanon Terry

The image, created by Woody Harrington, initially appeared in a 2020 Mother Jones article “about the hate, bigotry and racism hidden within Trump’s GOP.” The freelance illustrator addressed Terry’s use of the image on Instagram Wednesday, saying, “[It has] come to my attention that the Hate Elephant has been given new life (without permission or credit of course) in not one, but two republican campaigns.”

District 53 State Representative Anthony Daniels was also critical of the post, saying on Twitter that the use of the image was “disgusting.”

The Lawrence County NAACP is scheduled to host a press conference about the incident on Friday.