Investigation: Winter Park police officer made racist remark about Trayvon Martin case

Lt. Ron Johnson accused of saying, 'This is why they should be drowned at birth'

WINTER PARK, Fla. - A Winter Park police officer stepped down after making a racist remark while discussing the Trayvon Martin case.

Lieutenant Ron Johnson quickly retired after an internal investigation revealed he said, "This is why they should be drowned at birth," in reference to black people.

That remark came from the 27-year veteran to fellow officers during a February police briefing when their conversation turned to the Martin case.

The investigation said the comment was racially derogatory.

"I think that's appalling that anyone would say that or think it or believe it, especially in my town," said Ann Lulow, a Winter Park resident.

"I think it's ignorance, just absolute on his part to even utter such words," said Julius John.

"Lt. Ron Johnson has been a part of our police family for many years, and to have this occur after an otherwise distinguished career with our department is regretful," said Police Chief Brett Railey. "However, regardless of the individual and years of service, statements of this type are unacceptable in order to maintain the public's trust."

Railey said Johnson has not had any racially-motivated complaints against him.

Johnson was not fired. Instead, he was allowed to retire with full benefits.

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