Republican officials in Douglas County have joined the online chorus condemning the county GOP for posting a cartoon likening public health guidance to police brutality.

The cartoon was recently posted to the Douglas County Republicans page on Facebook but has since been deleted. It depicts someone putting a boot to another person’s head and using a baton to force a mask onto that person’s face. 9News reported that the cartoon was altered to include “Polis,” as in Gov. Jared Polis, on the leg of person committing the violence in the cartoon, and the message “We Can’t Breathe” below the drawing.

The Facebook post has been widely criticized on social media, including by influential Denver anti-racist activist Tay Anderson. “I AM DISGUSTED,” he wrote in a tweet Sunday that significantly raised the visibility of the cartoon.

The post’s removal over the weekend didn’t stop the torrent.

On Monday, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, an elected Republican, tweeted, “The leadership of the Douglas County Republican Party responsible for this posting should resign immediately. It’s disgusting” and doesn’t represent Douglas County Republicans.

County Commissioner Lora Thomas, also a Republican, tweeted: “On behalf of the Board of Douglas County Commissioners, the above referenced image distributed by a person with access to the Douglas County GOP social media, is reprehensible and (does) not represent our values.”

In addition to co-opting the phrase “I can’t breathe,” which has been uttered by dozens of black men killed by police, including Aurora’s Elijah McClain, the version of the cartoon posted by the Douglas County GOP falsely suggests Polis is forcing people to wear masks. Polis continues to strongly urge Coloradans to wear masks but has not issued an order requiring it.

Multiple messages to the Douglas County GOP weren’t returned Monday, but Stephen Allen, chairman of the group, posted a statement on the Facebook page Monday afternoon: “As Chairman I am responsible for the content of our social media and I apologize to anyone that was offended by the post. We are currently reviewing our editorial policies with regard to content and access to our social media platforms.”

Thomas and the other county commissioners moved last week to opt out of a mask mandate issued by the Tri-County Health Department.

Said Commissioner Abe Laydon, a Republican, “Regarding the mask mandate opt-out, our remarkably favorable public health data, paired with the community’s current 75% mask-wearing voluntary compliance observed by TCHD, and based on (Tri-County’s Dr. John M. Douglas’) recommendation that a mask mandate was not necessary for Douglas County, led us to this conclusion.”