Police morale in Fruitland Park, Florida has been shaken after a deputy chief and officer resigned when the Federal Bureau of Investigations identified them as members of the Ku Klux Klan.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement presented Chief Terry Isaacs with copies of a confidential FBI report last week that allegedly identified Deputy Chief David Borst and Officer George Hunnewell as members of the KKK.
Earlier this year, a Florida Klan leader boasted to WFTV 9 that the organization has “police officers, paramedics, judges…everywhere.”
However, Chief Isaacs would only tell reporters for the Orlando Sentinel that the pair belonged to a “subversive organization,” because he did not believe he was authorized to release the results of the report.
“It’s a tough situation. He was my assistant,” he said, adding that he never witnessed any behavior that would lead him to believe former Deputy Chief Borst was in the KKK. “But I’ve read the report, and it’s convincing.”
Chief Deputy State Attorney Ric Ridgway — from whom Isaacs sought counsel concerning the FBI’s report — told the Orlando Sentinel that “it’s not a crime to be a member of the KKK, even if you are the deputy chief. It’s not a crime to be stupid. It’s not a crime to hate people. It may be despicable, it may be immoral, but it’s not a crime.”
The loss of two officers is significant for a town that only employs 13 full-time cops. “They’re a good group of people,” Isaacs said. “The last thing I was expecting to hear in the year 2014 was for a professional law-enforcement officer to be a member of a subversive organization.”
In 2009, however, another Fruitland Park officer, James Elkins, resigned after pictures emerged online of him wearing a Klan hood and robe. Elkins initially claimed that he was not involved with the organization, but eventually admitted that he was the “district Kleage,” or local recruiter, for the National Aryan Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
Watch a report from WFTV 9 below.
[“Ku Klux Klan” by Arete13 via Flickr, Creative Commons licensed]