Handling of Winter Park police officer over Trayvon Martin racial slur questioned
Lt. Ron Johnson not reprimanded, allowed to retire
A Winter Park officer who police said made a racial slur while discussing the Trayvon Martin case was not reprimanded and allowed to retire, prompting outrage from some residents.
Lt. Ron Johnson, a 27-year veteran of the Winter Park Police Department, retired Thursday without any formal reprimand.
An investigation, which resulted in a 98-page review, was launched after a co-worker, who's a black woman, said she was offended when Johnson said, "This is why they should be drowned at birth," during a conversation about supporters of Martin.
The remark was made during a February staff meeting about supporters of Martin, who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford a year earlier. The conversation involved security due to protests around the one-year memorial of Martin's death.
In the police report, Johnson said he had also uttered the remark in the past, calling it a "humorous thing of saying if that person had been drowned at birth the justice system wouldn't have to worry about [being] arresting him every single time."
Johnson said during the investigation into his comments that he was sorry if he unintentionally offended anyone.
Natalie Jackson, an attorney representing Martin's family, responded by saying, "Good riddance."
The Winter Park chief of police released a statement saying Johnson had a distinguished career but that his comments were unacceptable.
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