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KKK membership sinks 2 Florida cops

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By USA Today
Monday, July 14, 2014, 9:03 p.m.
 

A Florida deputy police chief has resigned and an officer has been fired because the FBI reported that both belonged to the Ku Klux Klan.

Fruitland Park Deputy Chief David Borst has denied involvement with the notorious white-hooded hate group that emerged after the Civil War and continued to terrorize and murder blacks through the mid-20th century.

The 49-year-old Borst, a department veteran of more than 20 years, was also fire chief for the Lake County city of 5,000, about 40 miles northwest of Orlando. He resigned both posts last week after being confronted with the FBI report.

Officer George Hunnewell, who was demoted last year over performance and attitude complaints, was fired on Friday by Chief Terry Isaacs.

The state attorney's office is reviewing every arrest made by the officers and giving particular scrutiny to cases involving minorities, Isaacs said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement gave Isaacs a summary of an FBI investigation based on information from a confidential source who linked both officers to the Klan. No criminal wrongdoing was found, and the FBI said no other officers were linked to the white supremacists.

Chief Deputy State Attorney Ric Ridgway, whom Isaac contacted for advice, told the Orlando Sentinel that the report contained “a lot of fairly substantial evidence that tends to support” Borst's and Hunnewell's Klan membership.

But he pointed out that it's not illegal to belong to the KKK “even if you are the deputy chief.”

“It's not a crime to hate people. It may be despicable, it may be immoral, but it's not a crime,” he said.

Because of that, Fruitland Park officials had to decide whether Borst and Hunnewell violated standards and ethics.

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