If you are a cop and you catch juveniles smoking marijuana [smart kids are more likely to smoke weed] — a plant safer than cigarettes, kills cancer cells, improves lung function, and leads to greater structural and functional connectivity in the brain — what will be your instant reaction?
Well, according to Todd Shaw, a former assistant police chief at a Kentucky police department, you should “shoot them” if they are black and have sex with their mothers if they are “hot”.
According to a letter written by Mike O’Connell, the chief legal officer for Jefferson County to the Mayor of Prospect, John Evans, Shaw, who at the time was acting chief for the city of Prospect [a suburban city in the Louisville metropolitan area], sent several “highly disturbing racist and threatening Facebook messages” to a Louisville Metro Police Department recruit.
O’Connell said Shaw sent the private Facebook messages to the young recruit, training to be a Louisville Metro Police officer, in September and October 2016:
“As Jefferson County Attorney, I feel compelled to notify and warn you of Shaw’s deeply offensive and racist statements. There is no place in police departments for men or women who hold such strongly held prejudices, including recommending shooting people simply because of their race.”
The recruit reportedly asked Shaw what would be “the right thing to do” if he caught three juveniles smoking marijuana. “F— the right thing. If black, shoot them,” Shaw responded.
When asked what to tell the juveniles’ parents, Shaw answered:
“Call their parents … If mom is hot then f**k her… If dad is hot then handcuff him and make him suck my d**k… Unless daddy is black. Then shoot him.“
Shaw, who had worked more than 20 years as a Louisville officer before joining the Prospect department in 2012, also told the recruit that “ML King was nothing but a racist (sic) womanizer… but because someone shot him, I get a day off with pay each year.”
He then told the unnamed recruit that he was required to sign a form saying he “wasn’t racist or associated with racists or associated with racist or hate groups per some KY law”. “What has POLICING come to when all you can shoot are white people and injured deer. Lol,” he reportedly wrote.
Shaw was suspended, then fired late last year from the Prospect force. He had fought to keep the messages confidential, but a judge ruled this week that they had to be made public. LMPD Chief Steve Conrad said in a statement that he was “disgusted by the shocking and appalling” comments:
“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.”
But, Attorney Michael Burns, who represents Shaw, claims his client was just “playing”:
“Mr. Shaw held a distinguished career in law enforcement for nearly 30 years. Throughout his career, he treated all people fairly and respectfully regardless of their race. His Facebook messages were made privately between colleagues and friends who shared the reality of being police officers in today’s culture where police are demonized and demoralized for doing what is required to keep the community safe. Actions speak louder than words and Mr. Shaw’s actions during his career speak for themselves. He is not a racist in any sense of the word.”
Shaw’s racists comments were found by prosecutors investigating possible criminal charges against him for providing illegal assistance to one of the two Louisville police officers who were charged with sexually abusing teenagers.