Two cops forced to step down amid allegations they’re KKK members five years after officer from the same Florida force was pictured in a pointy hood and robe.
One Florida police officer has been fired and another has resigned amid allegations that they are both members of a local branch of the Ku Klux Klan.
Fruitland Park police have confirmed that Deputy Chief David Borst, 49, resigned, while Officer George Hunnewell was dismissed on Friday after the allegations were made against the officers in a confidential FBI report by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
It isn’t a criminal offense to be in the KKK, but local police chief Terry Isaacs said the document was given to him to consider how the allegations might affect the officers’ credibility and the perception of the department in the community.
He told WFTV that while he had no proof or documentation the men were members; ‘I’ve read the report, and it’s convincing.’
On Friday, Isaacs began preparing an internal investigation and put the men on administrative leave.
Borst, a veteran officer with more than 20 years of law enforcement service was also Fruitland Park’s fire chief.
He denied involvement in the group but resigned both posts on Friday after requesting time to speak with his family.
Lsaacs asked the city manager for approval to fire Hunnewell based on a review of the officer’s record with the department.
He had been demoted from corporal in 2013 and received five ‘letters of counseling’ in the past year.
‘I just had no faith in him,’ Isaacs told the Orlando Sentinel.
Both officers names surfaced as part of an international probe being conducted by the FBI.
They turned the investigation over to the FDLE to look into the standards and ethics policies to see what action should be taken.
FDLE officials also agreed it wasn’t criminal and so referred the case to Isaacs.
‘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,’ said Chief Deputy State Attorney Ric Ridgway.
The FBI has assured the police chief that there are no other officers involved.
Fruitland Park has 13 full-time and five part-time cops, and many were trained by Borst.
‘They’re a good group of people,’ said Isaacs of his officers. He described them as being upset by the allegations.
In 2009, Fruitland Park Police Officer James Elkins resigned after pictures surfaced of him in uniform with a pointy Klan hood and robe.