Officer fired over Trayvon Martin messages

A beach safety officer in Florida was fired on Friday, accused of posting racially insensitive content on the Internet after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin last month.

Todd Snipes was fired for unprofessional conduct — or what county officials called “horrible judgment made worse during a racially charged atmosphere,” The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

As detailed in the dismissal notice, 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 News-Journal.

According to the report:

Snipes’ messages included a Facebook post the night after George Zimmerman’s acquittal that read: “Another thug gone. Pull up your pants and be respectful. Bye bye thug r.i.p.”

He was also involved in an exchange of a series of racially tinged picture messages that included a cartoon of Trayvon Martin, holding a bag of Skittles. The words across the cartoon were: “Those Skittles were to die for.”

His dismissal met the approval of local NAACP officials. “I am glad that he was fired, rather than him having the option or the opportunity to resign,” Cynthia Slater, president of the Volusia branch of the NAACP, told the News-Journal.

“It’s unacceptable, and I’m glad that they really took a look at the damage that this has caused — and would have caused if they let this guy off the hook.”

Snipes did apologize for his actions, however, Public Protection Director George Recktenwald said Volusia County had a zero-tolerance policy on behavior that could damage its reputation.

Images posted by Snipes are seen here:

Snipes

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Tom Tillison

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