Prospect, KY – A former Prospect PD assistant police chief was fired after it was discovered that he sent racist messages to a Louisville Metro police recruit on Facebook messenger.
The messages are clearly jokes, but they are cringe-inducing racist jokes.
Todd Shaw, who worked for the Prospect Police Department in Kentucky, sent the “highly disturbing racist and threatening Facebook messages” to the recruit, according to a letter from Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell.
Shaw had previously worked 20 years as a Louisville police officer before becoming assistant chief in Prospect. He was suspended and then fired last year from the Prospect police department, according to Louisville Courier-Journal.
O’Connell told Mayor John Evans that Shaw and the recruit were talking about a training scenario where the recruit had to write a paper on “the right thing to do” if he caught three youths smoking marijuana. Shaw said, “F**k the right thing. If black shoot them.”
Shaw made other statements including how to handle parents of a youth caught smoking marijuana. Shaw wrote, “If mom is hot then f**k her. If dad is hot then handcuff him and make him suck my dick. Unless daddy is black. Then shoot him.”
According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Shaw also wrote that “ML King was nothing but a raciast (sic) womanizer … but because someone shot him, I get a day off with pay each year.”
Shaw was suspended Sept. 1, just a day after the letter was sent to the mayor. Shaw had tried to keep the messages confidential from the media which had tried to get them under the state’s open records law.
A judge ruled this week that the messages had to be released to the media.
"Mr. Shaw held a distinguished career in law enforcement for nearly 30 years," said Shaw’s attorney, Michael Burns. "Throughout his career, he treated all people fairly and respectfully regardless of their race."
Burns said that his client was just “playing.”
"His Facebook messages were made privately between colleagues and friends who shared the reality of being police officers in today’s culture where police are demonized and demoralized for doing what is required to keep the community safe," Burns said in an email to the Louisville Courier-Journal. "Actions speak louder than words and Mr. Shaw’s actions during his career speak for themselves. He is not a racist in any sense of the word."
Prospect Mayor Evans called the messages “reprehensible.”
“While it is important to note that all the communications either sent or received by Shaw were sent privately, the city finds the content of the messages to be abhorrent, disgusting and reprehensible," Evans said.
Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Steve Conrad told the Louisville Courier-Journal that he was "disgusted by the shocking and appalling" comments.
"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. 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,” Chief Conrad said.
The Facebook messages were found by prosecutors as they were reviewing another case in which Shaw was involved. Prosecutors were looking into whether Shaw should be prosecuted for interfering in a sexual abuse investigation.
According to O’Connell, Shaw’s offensive private messages were sent in September and October of 2016.
Shaw was fired by the Prospect police and the recruit was not retained by Louisville Metro PD.