On Monday morning she was a registered nurse in a Florida hospital. She said she worked in the surgical intensive care unit. He is in a police training academy preparing for a post as a sheriff’s deputy. By noon, she was fired.
Married couple Alexandra Suchocki and James Peach have come under fire for a racist social media post where she, or he, as she alleged, wrote the n-word on her forehead and then shared the picture and dialogue to accompany it on Snapchat. The post was screen-shotted and then shared.
Both their public social media pages have been deleted or scrubbed, but on the internet, there’s always a footprint.
Peach is from Mulberry, Florida. He attended Mulberry High School and was a member of the Future Farmers of America.
Suchocki also attended Mulberry High School and graduated in 2012. She was first licensed in Florida as a practical nurse in 2015 and then became a registered nurse a year ago. As of Oct. 22, she has no public complaints or disciplinary action listed on state records. Her license is effective until 2019.
In a turn of events Monday night, Suchocki takes all the blame for the racist post having previously blamed her husband. She lost her job. He’ll stay at the police academy.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Snapchat Image Later Called a ‘Joke,’ Alluded to Suchocki Being a Slave & Used the N-Word in Sharpie To Illustrate
James: What are you making for dinner?
Me: I just cleaned the whole house. Does it look like I have the word ni**er written across my forehead?
*James holds me down and writes ni**er across my forehead*
Suchocki says Peach wrote the word on her forehead. Some have pointed out that it is backwards, as can be found when reflected in a mirror, which might mean she did it herself. It’s not clear.
By Monday evening, apparently Suchocki had backed off the claim her husband was involved.
2. Suchocki’s Post Was Shared on Facebook to Call Attention to What is Described as the Couple’s Racism
“Hey Facebook Friends & Family,” wrote Danielle Shaunta Woodwood. She explained that a friend shared the Snapchat with her and she thought it important to share t more widely. She said that while she is not “associated” with Suchocki, they have mutual friends and she encouraged people to share her Facebook post. It has been shared some 2,000 times.
“I’d like you to meet Alexandra Suchocki. ??Alexandra just so happens to be an ICU Registered Nurse who works for our very own Lakeland Regional Health. Lakeland Regional Health prides itself on it’s ability to provide constant development and training on diversity and inclusion. Lakeland Regional, it looks like Alexandra must have missed that training. ?,” Woodward wrote.
“I apologize, where are my manners, ??♀️ Alexandra’s delightful spouse mentioned in the snap below is James. From what I understand James is currently training in the Police Academy to be a Sheriff. Not only are we hiring racists in the medical field but here we go again; another to add to our Service team! Way to go Polk Sheriff.”
Woodward wrote in an ironic way likely intended to convey disgust, “Friends and Family, please help me in sharing this post so Alexandra and James know just how welcomed they are to our community!”
3. Response Was Widespread Condemnation of the Snapchat Post by Public Service Workers, Namely a Police Officer & Nurse
In Woodward’s post shared first on Facebook Sunday afternoon, 700 people have reacted, more than 40 have commented and more than 2,000 people have shared it. The vast majority of the comments are critical of Suchocki and Peach given their respective fields; health care and law enforcement. And, a number raise concerns about her work in intensive care and with people of color.
“This is deplorable. They definitely don’t need to be in the fields of healthcare or law enforcement. Throw the whole couple away,” one comment on Woodward’s Facebook post read.
On Twitter some addressed what impact Suchocki’s sentiments might have had on black patients.
Others while not perhaps shocked, nonetheless said the “ignorance” was hard to fathom.
“The more I think about this, the more incomprehensible it becomes ?
1. At what point did EITHER OF THEM think this was an acceptable form of communication, EVER?
2. If she is so ignorant to post this ON SOCIAL MEDIA for the whole damn world to see, can you imagine what their conversations are like off of social media?
3. What mindless, senseless, ignorant, injudicious rock did they crawl out from under?
4. Send them back to live under it.”
Some had faith that the hospital would not tolerate the behavior.
“Lakeland Regional has always upheld a good solid foundation and reputation when it comes to it’s staff, it’s patients and the entire community. To have this woman continue her duties there after seeing this, they won’t condone that. She should be ashamed of herself for this; I’m sure they’ve terminated her and I’m also sure no other healthcare facility will hire her after this. Karma has a way of firing back.”
This person surmised correctly.
Heavy contacted the public information officials at both the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Lakeland Regional Health early Monday morning. By late morning, Suchocki had been fired and the sheriff was “looking into” Peach.
An intensive care unit nurse from the hospital reached out to Heavy to say she’s not emblematic of their unit.
“I am a nurse in that ICU we work very hard to extend a caring, healing environment and this has been a hard blow to our reputation and she hasn’t worked here in well over a month and worked here for less than 3.”
4. Less Than 2 Hours After Heavy Contacted Lakeland Regional Health For Comment, Suchocki Was Fired
Monday morning, Heavy emailed Lakeland Regional Health for confirmation on Suchocki’s employment status and to ask for comment about her Snapchat post.
Ninety minutes later, a hospital spokeswoman responded saying Suchocki was fired.
“On Sunday, October 21, Lakeland Regional Health learned that a racially discriminatory social media post was made by an employee. Our organization is committed to an environment free of discrimination and harassment. Offensive conduct or harassment of this type is prohibited. As of today, October 22, this individual is no longer employed by Lakeland Regional Health,” wrote Jennifer Audette, Lakeland Regional Health’s manager of editorial services, in an email to Heavy.
5. James Peach is at Police Academy on a Polk County Sheriff’s Scholarship. And He’ll Remain There on Scholarship Since Late Monday Suchocki Admits Her Husband Had no Part in the Racist Social Media Post She Now Says Was a ‘Joke’
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s director of communications Scott Wilder, Peach is enrolled at the Polk County Law Enforcement Academy, known as the Kenneth C. Thompson Institute of Public Safety, and is attending the college on a scholarship awarded him by the from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, though, Wilder points out, Peach “is not an employee.”
Wilder said the PCSO has seen the post and “we find it reprehensible.”
Earlier in the day he said the PCSO was “looking into what happened, what was posted and by whom, and who is responsible and what involvement both have.”
PCSO Sheriff Grady Judd was out of town and unavailable for comment. The PCSO comment on Woodward’s post where it says it’s “aware” and “looking into it,” has nearly 200 likes.
The police academy is the Kenneth C. Thompson Institute of Public Safety at Polk State College. Among its stated “core values” is “respect:”
“We shall consistently demonstrate tolerance, civility, and fairness when dealing with the students, local, regional, state agencies, and each other. Our reputation is dependent upon our ability to operate free from prejudice and favoritism in all situations. We shall remain cognizant of the fact that many judge our institute by the actions of one individual; therefore, we shall always conduct ourselves in a manner that ensures respect for all employees, our students and client agencies. We will promote a climate of mutual trust and respect.”
Monday evening, Wilder contacted Heavy with the following update after police interviewed Suchocki:
“We discovered this morning that James Peach …was mentioned in a racist social media post. The post was from an “Alexandra Suchochi,” (Alexandra Peach, married to James Peach) in which she made an allegation that academy enrollee James Peach ‘holds [held] me down and writes n***** on my forehead.’
Wilder said police asked her about the post.
“Ms. Peach told our staff that the incident she described never happened, and that James Peach had nothing to do with the post, and that what she posted was a bad attempt at humor and was a terrible mistake,” meaning that she did it on her own.
Wilder said staff at the police academy spoke to Peach this morning.
“He said he learned about the photo only after it was made and posted by his wife, was upset about the post, and did not find that it was at all funny. He denied any involvement in the post,” Wilder said. “Had the Sheriff’s Office discovered that James Peach was involved with what was described in the post, his scholarship would have been terminated and he would not have been eligible for employment with the Sheriff’s Office.”
James Peach’s father, also James but goes by Jimmy, shared this photo of his son whose nickname is Bubba from 2015.
The senior Peach, who often posts images from his church, Southside Baptist, posted a photograph of an event with Sheriff Judd.