For those who believe we have evolved into a post-racial society where hate groups are now part of our collective past, think again. Hate groups are flourishing across the nation and its members are seemingly everywhere – including local police departments. Two police officers with the Fruitland Park Police Department near Orlando, Florida are no longer with the department because they were linked to the Ku Klux Klan.
Deputy Chief David Borst resigned from the Fruitland Park Police Department on July 10, after it was alleged that he was affiliated with the KKK, the racist, hooded white supremacist group that terrorized African-Americans for decades with cross-burnings, fire-bombings and lynching, starting in the 1860s.(Borst, also the town’s fire chief, resigned that post, too.) After the state’s Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI conducted an initial probe, Police Officer George Hunnewell was also fired after it was alleged he, too, was associated with the KKK.
Shouldn’t police departments vet their officers more carefully? It seems to me that more thorough background checks would reveal hate groups in a person’s past. The FBI found out about Borst and Hunnewell. It can find out about others. Borst, a cop for more than 20 years, denied any involvement with the KKK. Still, the Florida State Attorney’s office is investigating all arrests that Borst and Hunnewell were associated with to determine if racial prejudice played a role in their policing.
In an odd twist, according to the Florida Sun Sentinel, Hunnewell claims he was working undercover to expose racism within his own department.
Hunnewell’s ex-wife Ann, formerly a secretary with Fruitland Park police, claimed she and her former husband were assigned to infiltrate the Klan undercover by befriending another officer alleged to be a Klansman,” according to the Sun Sentinel.
“They never told anyone and had no documentation for the operation, but insisted former police Chief Mark Isom could corroborate their story.”