Sumner official who sent offensive meme in work email apologizes for ‘horribly offensive mistake’

A local government official is responding to allegations that he sent out an offensive meme via email using a government account in August, apologizing for what he called a “horribly offensive mistake.”

Patrick Reed, public government affairs manager for the Secretary of State’s office and city council member in Sumner, allegedly sent an email with a meme that said if people are in court, they’re guilty, especially if they are Black or Mexican.

KIRO 7 obtained a copy of the email exchange through a public documents request after receiving a tip about it.

On Wednesday, Reed responded to the allegations on his Facebook page and apologized for his behavior.

“On August 9, I replied to an email at work and selected the wrong meme from search results. In a rush, I copied and pasted an image without verifying what I was sending,” Reed’s post reads in part.

The post continues, “The next day, after a meeting with HR, I became aware of my horribly offensive mistake. In no way do I agree with the sentiment of that meme. I am deeply sorry for my mistake. My first reaction was to reach out to those that received the email to apologize, but by that time it was part of a confidential HR investigation not to be discussed. I continue to fully cooperate with HR throughout this investigation. I hope that this can be accepted for being the horrible mistake that it was.”

According to his LinkedIn page, Reed has served in his role in the Secretary of State’s office since 2017 and has been a council member in Sumner since 2015.

The Office of the Secretary of State’s director of external affairs had this to say about the incident:

“As a matter of policy, we do not comment on any ongoing issues involving our employees. The Office of the Secretary of State takes all matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion very seriously. We expect all employees to uphold the office values of integrity, service excellence, visionary leadership, and collaboration in every aspect of our duties. Further, we require all employees to foster an environment of dignity and respect within our office and with those we serve.”