Ohio Cops Make KKK-Related Statements Regarding Trayvon Martin, Their Punishment is a Slap in the Face to Martin’s Family

Hocking County Sherriff Lanny E. North admits that two of his deputies engaged in racist banter. Photo by Kimball Perry / Dispatch

Hocking County Sheriff Lanny E. North admits that two of his deputies engaged in racist banter. Photo by Kimball Perry / DispatchRacist Ohio Cops Say ‘They Ought to Pay Us for Burning Crosses in Neighborhoods,’ Punished with Mandatory One-Hour Class

A recent federal lawsuit has uncovered yet another blatant act of racism on the part of police, this time in the form of secretly recorded audio clips where two Ohio police officers can be heard making racially insensitive remarks.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Hocking County sheriff’s deputies Patrick Allison and Edwin Downs made the racist comments while on duty and in the office. They can be heard on the recording joking about burning crosses and constructing portable ones to make the cross-burning process easier.

“We should make a little money,” Allison stated in one recording. They ought to pay us to burn crosses in neighborhoods. We could sell portable crosses, like have a wood cross with the base so you could just stand it in the yard instead of like having to dig a hole for it. It could have like firestarter chunks built into it.”

In two conversations, also covertly recorded by another deputy, Allison and Downs can be heard using the n-word a total of eight times, the publication reports. Supposedly, their racial comments were made in reference to the 2012 killing of unarmed Black teen Trayvon Martin.

“Of course, I don’t condone that at all, from them or anybody. We should be setting an example,” Sheriff Lanny North said.

In a county with a predominately white population, North admits that some people use “improper language,” but asserts that that type of behavior shouldn’t occur in his department, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

As punishment, the two deputies were required to complete a one-hour course on cultural and diversity awareness.

“That’s not even a punishment to me,” said president of the Ohio Conference NAACP Sybil Edwards-McNabb. “That can be interpreted as a slap on the wrist. The alarming thing is [the conversations] were done so casually, especially by sworn officers. There was a comfort level they had in making those comments.”

Edwards-McNabb also said that the NAACP may even launch an investigation of their own and “take some direct action” if necessary.

The 2013 recordings, made by former deputy Jeremy Dye, were submitted as evidence in a 2015 lawsuit filed by Hocking County Coroner David Cummin. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Cummin is suing the sheriff, several deputies, Prosecutor Laina Fetherolf and others for alleged malicious prosecution, intimidation of a public official and violation of Ohio’s Open Meetings laws.

North and other Hocking County officials were unaware of the tapes until four months ago, when their lawyer informed them that the recordings had been submitted as evidence, the publication reports.

“Once we had the tapes in our possession, we addressed it,” North said.

The sheriff admits that although Allison and Downs violated the department’s code of conduct, they’re allowed to exercise their right to free speech.

“…But there’s a time and place to do that but the time and place is not in the office in uniform,” North said

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Edwards-McNabb thinks the two men shouldn’t be police officers if they hold such racist beliefs.

“The last place they should be is where they are and where they earn a living,” she said.

Allison left in 2015 after the tapes surfaced, while Downs has been employed with the Hocking County sheriff’s office since 2008, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

The incident involving the two Ohio deputies adds to the growing list of law enforcement personnel found to have used racially offensive language to reference Blacks and other minorities. Per Atlanta Black Star, L.A. County Sheriff official Tom Angel resigned from his position in May after e-mails of him referring to Blacks as “nigs” and Mexicans as “beaners” were exposed. The Newark Police Department experienced a similar scandal when its officers were accused of comparing Mayor Ras Baraka, who is African-American, to an ape.

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