A former assistant police chief out of Louisville, Kent., is under fire after sending several racist messages to a police recruit, including one urging him to shoot Black youth caught smoking marijuana.
Officer Todd Shaw sent the “highly disturbing racist and threatening Facebook messages” to an unnamed Louisville Metro Police recruit between September and October 2016, Attorney Mike O’Connell wrote in a letter to Prospect Mayor John Evans. Shaw, who’d spent 20 years as a Louisville officer, was booted from the Prospect force last year, one day after O’Connell sent the letter.
While discussing a training scenario where the recruit was asked to write a report on “the right thing to do” if he caught three juveniles smoking pot, Shaw wrote, “… F-ck the right thing,” according to the Courier Journal. “If Black, shoot them.”
In another Facebook message, the ousted chief described Martin Luther King as “nothing but a racist womanzier … but because someone shot him, I get a day off with pay each year.” The unearthed memos also in included misogynistic comments about “hot moms,” and handcuffing dads when dealing with the juveniles’ parents.
“If dad is hot then handcuff him and make him suck my d–k,” he wrote. “Unless daddy is black. Then shoot him.”
Prosecutors uncovered the “private” messages while investigating a case where Shaw was suspected of improperly accessing the National Crime Information Center database to help another officer being investigated, the officer’s lawyer, Nick Mudd, told ABC News. He was ultimately let off with no criminal charges.
Shaw’s other lawyer, Michael Burns, insisted his client “is NOT a racist in any sense of the word” and that he was just “playing.” Burns added that throughout Shaw’s 30 year career as an officer, he made sure to treat people fairly “regardless of their race.”
City leaders begged to differ, however.
“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,” mayor Evans said.
During a press conference Friday, O’Connell told reporters that while his office supports law enforcement, ” … 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.”
LMPD Chief Steve Conrad also issued the following statement:
“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. These actions spit in the face of the determined effort hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers put forth to build trust and legitimacy in the communities they serve.”
The recruit who sought Shaw’s advice was never brought on to Louisville Metro PD.