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Mount Dora police chief accused of making inappropriate remark

City plans to issue apology

MOUNT DORA, Fla. – Mount Dora Police Chief John O'Grady is under fire after remarks he made at an event Friday.

A statement released by city representative Lisa McDonald read: "The City Manager was made aware of a certain unacceptable statement made during the Mount Dora Heroes Foundation Golf Tournament on Friday, April 12, 2019. The remarks are in no way reflective of the city’s values, principals and ideals and can only be characterized as insensitive and inappropriate. The city has prepared an apology that is being distributed to all members and sponsors that were in attendance at the Mount Dora Heroes Foundation Golf Tournament."

During Friday's ceremony, O'Grady is said to have made a racially insensitive remark about Hispanics. 

Laura Hargrove is an attorney for a couple who owns Las Palmas restaurant in downtown Mount Dora. 

On her social media page, she explains an award was to be presented to them, but a medical emergency kept them from attending. 

The chief, she said, decided to allow a Hispanic officer to accept on their behalf. 

He reportedly said the officer should accept because they were, "the same."

An interview with the chief was declined. 

Hargrove said she and her clients have yet to receive the apology letter but expect to in the coming days. 

She said her clients will continue to support the community and the city of Mount Dora and encourage others to do so, as well. 

"We look forward to receiving the letter and putting this incident behind us," Hargrove said. 

O'Grady began working for the department in 2013.

He served as the public safety director and was pegged to take on the position as chief once the former chief retired. 

His personnel file shows he's held in high regard, with others complimenting his accomplishments. 

However, the law enforcement veteran is now on paid administrative leave following last week's comment.