Last week, it was revealed that two of its officers were accused of being members of America’s most notorious hate group. But get this: Five years ago, the department was forced to fire another police officer for allegedly being a KKK recruiter — and apparently he was good at his job.
The FBI notified the Fruitland Park Police Department that Deputy Chief David Borst and Officer George Hunnewell were secretly Klansmen. Even though the KKK is classified as a hate group by the FBI, it’s not against the law to be a member. So after Borst resigned his post — while denying that he was a KKK member — Chief Terry Isaacs found performance issues to use as the basis for Hunnewell’s termination.
“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,” Isaacs told the Orlando Sentinel.
In 2009, according to media reports, James Elkins, 28, resigned after a police department investigation was launched when the department received information that Elkins was distributing fliers in Sumter County promoting the Klan. There were also photos of Elkins dressed in KKK gowns and hoods.
Though the news may be shocking to some, many U.S. police departments and sheriff’s departments, particularly in the South, during the early 20th century had officers who wore the department uniform during the day and the Klan hood at night. It was a widely known phenomenon during the Jim Crow era in the South.