Report: Volusia County beach officer suspended over Trayvon Martin comments

Officials say officer sent inappropriate Facebook and cellphone messages

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - A Volusia County beach safety officer was placed on paid administrative leave after making comments on Facebook the night after a verdict was made in the George Zimmerman murder trial.

Officer Todd Snipes posted messages on his Facebook celebrating the not guilty verdict after the trial ended.

"Another thug gone," read one message. "Pull up your pants and act respectful. Bye bye thug r.i.p."

County spokesman David Byron said Snipes also sent another employee a cartoon showing Trayvon Martin, the teen killed by Zimmerman, in a hoodie, holding a can of iced tea and a red bag of Skittles. The words on the cartoon read, "Those Skittles were to die for."

County officials have publicly criticized Snipes behavior, calling it "unacceptable" and apologizing to Martin's family.

An internal affairs investigation has been opened, which could lead to Snipes' firing. He was removed from work on Wednesday -- the same day county officials were made aware of the offensive and racially charged Facebook material, Byron said.

"We have a process we have to follow, this individual is a law enforcement officer, he has the law enforcement officers bill of rights, that we have to go by, as well as the personnel rules in Volusia County, which afford an individual due process," Byron said.

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