A Kentucky policeman was fired after it emerged he had advised a potential new recruit to the force to shoot any black person seen smoking marijuana.
Todd Shaw, 50, was serving as an assistant chief of police in Prospect, on the outskirts of Louisville.
Asked on Facebook by the potential recruit what "the right thing to do" would be if he caught three juveniles smoking marijuana, Shaw stated: "F— the right thing. If black shoot them.”
Shaw, instructing the recruit how to handle parents of a juvenile caught smoking pot, wrote: “If mom is hot then fuck her. If dad is hot then handcuff him and make him suck my dick. Unless daddy is black. Then shoot him."
The messages, sent in September and October 2016, were uncovered by Mike O’Connell, the Jefferson County attorney, who was investigating Shaw in relation to a investigation regarding another officer charged with sexually abusing teenagers. Shaw, investigated for assisting his colleague, was cleared of any wrongdoing.
But Mr O’Connell was shocked by what he termed "highly disturbing racist and threatening Facebook messages", and wrote a letter to the mayor of Prospect, John Evans.
Shaw, who had previously worked 20 years as a Louisville officer, was suspended, then fired, on September 1 – the day after the letter was sent to Mr Evans.
News of the Facebook messages was made public by the local newspaper, The Louisville Courier-Journal, on Thursday.
Shaw had fought to keep the messages confidential after two local news agencies requested them under the state Open Records Act, but a judge ruled that they had to be made public.
Judge Judith McDonald Burkman ruled that they revealed "prejudices that bring into question Shaw’s integrity as a law enforcement officer" and that public concern was "magnified by his rank.”
Shaw’s lawyer, Michael Burns, said his client was "just playing" when he sent the Facebook messages.
"Mr Shaw held a distinguished career in law enforcement for nearly 30 years," he said. "Throughout his career, he treated all people fairly and respectfully regardless of their race."
And he said the private messages were a response to police being "demonized and demoralized".
"His Facebook messages were made privately between colleagues and friends who shared the reality of being police officers in today’s culture where police are demonized and demoralized for doing what is required to keep the community safe," he said, in an email to the paper.
But both Mr O’Connell and Mr Evans insisted his messages were unacceptable.
“There is no place in police departments for men or women who hold such strongly held prejudices, including recommending shooting people simply because of their race,” wrote Mr O’Connell, in his letter to the mayor.
He added that it was “quite disturbing that Shaw, a senior law enforcement officer with more than 20 years’ experience, was expressing his offensive racist views with a young recruit training to be a Louisville Metro Police officer.”
Speaking to journalists after Shaw’s conduct was revealed, Mr O’Connell replied that his office supports police officers "but this kind of person walking the streets of this community with a gun or badge should never be tolerated. And they should be weeded out, for all our good."
The prospective new recruit was not hired.
The county attorney’s office said it would move to dismiss two dozen District Court cases in which Shaw was the sole witness, regardless of whether the defendants were black.
Mr Evans, the mayor, added: "While it is important to note that all the communications either sent or received by Shaw were sent privately, the city finds the content of the messages to be abhorrent, disgusting and reprehensible."
Steve Conrad, chief of Louisville police, said in a statement that he was "disgusted by the shocking and appalling" comments.
"Any person who holds these thoughts has no business ever donning a uniform and representing those who have sworn to serve every member of every community," he said.
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