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Florida Beach Officer Todd Snipes Fired After Facebook Comments About Trayvon Martin
A Florida beach safety officer lost his job on Friday for unprofessional conduct after reportedly posting negative comments about Trayvon Martin on Facebook.
On the evening that George Zimmerman was found not guilty, Todd Snipes, a now former Volusia County, Fla., beach safety official, reportedly posted on Facebook, “Another thug gone. Pull up your pants and be respectful. Bye bye thug r.i.p.”
Snipes had been a beach officer for a decade and a half and was stationed less than an hour from where Martin was killed in Sanford, Fla. Snipes was initially suspended for the Facebook post, reported The Blaze.
In a notice of dismissal, Department of Public Protection Director George Recktenwald wrote that Snipes “engaged in behavior that threatens the respect and trust of the community and jeopardizes the perception that the department enforces the law fairly, even-handedly and without bias,” according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Snipes was reportedly also involved in an exchange of a series of racially tinged picture messages that included a cartoon of Martin holding a bag of Skittles. The words across the cartoon were: “Those Skittles were to die for.”
“The racial content of these text messages is not only unprofessional, but disturbing coming from a supervisor of Volusia County Beach Safety,” Recktenwald wrote.
“I join in the county in condemning what he did and the things that he also posted online, which were quite graphic, showing a total lack of sensitivity to a family that has already been through a horrendous time in their own lives,” said the Rev. L. Ronald Durham, president of the Daytona Beach Black Clergy Alliance. “I think it was certainly something that the community expected from the county, and we’re delighted that they have made the right decision.”
Snipes, who has been a Volusia lifeguard for nearly a quarter of a century, referred all questions to his attorney, Jason Harr, who could not be contacted by The Daytona Beach News-Journal.