A Florida police officer was fired for writing racist and homophobic Facebook posts that he insisted were harmless jokes and blamed others for finding them offensive.
Mark Roberts was terminated Dec. 1 after a nearly four-month investigation launched into his social media activity, reported the Bradenton Herald.
Roberts, a nine-year veteran of the Bradenton police department who was named officer of the month for May 2015, posted the comments between February 2013 and June 2016.
One comment was made in response to a black father whose 17-year-old son was fatally shot by a homeowner during an alleged burglary. "I’m glad your kid is dead," Roberts wrote. "Now go make another one.”
Roberts also admitted to mocking gay people in other posts.
The now-former officer told investigators the posts, in which he sometimes identified himself as an officer, were intended as jokes and that he did not hate gay or black people.
Roberts told investigators that he attacked the father of the slain burglary suspect because he was fed up with people making excuses for their actions and blaming homeowners or law enforcement when suspected criminals were shot.
“Officer Roberts stated he did not view his post as a stereotype towards black people, and ‘If you do, I’m not the one with the racist views,’” investigators wrote in their report.
The investigation was launched in June based on a tip about the officer's social media comments.
Roberts plans to contest his firing.