Demands for widespread action following officer's racist Facebook comments

Published: Jan. 20, 2018 at 4:00 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2018 at 11:37 AM EST
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville leaders reacted with strong words to the graphic, racist Facebook comments posted by former Prospect Assistant Police Chief Todd Shaw.

Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad released a statement calling the offensive posts "atrocious."

"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," Conrad said. "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."

>> Read letter, Shaw's Facebook messages (WARNING: Contains offensive language)

Metro Council Majority Leader Cheri Bryant Hamilton wondered if trust in the police might be back at square one because of the hateful, racist words of a single officer.

"I think this hurts because it makes you wonder, how many more feel this way?" Hamilton said.

Just raising the question, Hamilton said, erodes trust of police and raises fear in the community.

Former LMPD decorated officer Steve Kelsey told WAVE 3 News he is worried about officers' safety.

"He (Shaw) just put a lot of officers' lives in danger," Kelsey said. "Because as a black man, I'm bothered. I'm ticked off. I'm ticked off as a police officer. Those of us who did the right thing, he has now made those officers a target."

Nicholai Jilek, President of the River City Fraternal Order of Police Friday called the posts "beyond reprehensible."

"Views such as those are the antithesis to the ideals that drive and influence the men and women that I work with everyday who devote their lives serving and protecting this city," Jilek said. "We, the members of the River City FOP, unequivocally condemn the reported statements and pray that the people of Metro Louisville understand those comments in no way represent the rest of their law enforcement community."

Louisville NAACP President Raoul Cunningham and others say better training is needed. He called on officers to root out racists in their ranks before they do harm to a department's reputation.

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"This is an example of a bad apple floating to the top," Cunningham said.

"It is not safe to be black in this version of America and it has never been," Sadiqa Reynolds, President and CEO of the Louisville Urban League, said.

"We are tired. What we do next will depend on what white people in places of power and privilege do to respond to the felonious, contemptuous suggestion that black life is disposable," Reynolds said. "He (Shaw) paints us as violent and sexual beings completely devoid of humanity or respect. I am offended and want police departments across this country to be held accountable for the actions they take that correlate with his statement."

The City of Prospect issued a statement Friday afternoon saying it strongly repudiates Shaw's statements. Read the full statement here:

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