Two police officers from the Fruitland Park Police Department in Florida are off the job as a result of a report passed on to Chief of Police Terry Isaacs by the FBI, alleging that they were involved with the local chapter of the KKK.
Isaacs declined to confirm that the two were alleged to be involved with the KKK, saying only that the report linked them to a “subversive organization,” and that the information had been passed on to him so that he could evaluate how the allegations might impact their credibility and image in the community. He said that he did not believe that he was authorized to release any further details from the report.
Isaacs sought the advice of Chief Deputy State Attorney Ric Ridgway who said that while it is not a crime to belong to the Klan, it is still a hate group.
“It’s not a crime to be a member of the KKK, even if you are the deputy chief. It’s not a crime to be stupid,” Ridgway told the Orlando Sentinel, in an earlier interview. “It’s not a crime to hate people. It may be despicable, it may be immoral, but it’s not a crime.”
Deputy Chief David Borst, 49 was also the Fire Chief for Fruitland Park. He has denied any involvement with the Klan, but on Friday he resigned both of his official posts after requesting that Isaacs give him time to speak with his family first.
“It’s a tough situation. He was my assistant,” Isaacs said, adding that he had seen no indication in Borst’s behavior that would indicate involvement in the Klan. “I’m not saying I believe him. I’m not saying I don’t believe him. But I’ve read the report, and it’s convincing.”
Isaacs was less generous to the other officer, George Hunnewell, noting that he had been demoted from the rank of corporal in 2013 and had received 5 “letters of counseling” in the past year, an indication that his performance with the department was sub-standard. When he dismissed Hunnewell on Thursday he said that he had taken into consideration his job performance in making his decision.
Isaacs made counselors available to his remaining 13 full-time and 5 part-time officers noting that many of them had been trained by Borst.
Referring to his officers as a “good group of people,” Isaacs said, “The last thing I was expecting to hear in the year 2014 was for a professional law-enforcement officer to be a member of a subversive organization.”
It is not the first time however that the department has been embarrassed in this manner. In 2009 Officer James Elkins was forced to resign after photos surfaced of him in his Klan hood and robes.
Watch a report from WFTV below.