Winter Park cop resigns, accused of racial remarks during Trayvon Martin meeting



WINTER PARK, Fla. - A Winter Park police officer resigned Thursday after derogatory remarks colleagues said he made about African-Americans prompted an internal investigation.

Lt. Ron Johnson's notice of retirement was one sentence long and made no mention of a derogatory remark his colleagues said he made about African-Americans, during a shift meeting about the anniversary of Trayvon Martin's death.

The investigation began with a complaint from a union leader and officer who said that during discussion about potential protests surrounding Martin's death anniversary, Johnson said, "This is why they should be drowned at birth."

The complaint said the comment was "clearly understood to be racially derogatory."

Officials said it happened in the presence of at least one African-American officer who said she was offended, but was not the person who made the complaint.

When interviewed, Johnson told investigators the comment was a humorous term. He said it was pertaining to individuals who have become a continuous repeat offender.

The department didn't buy that and found the allegations sustained and really meant about Trayvon Martin supporters.

Winter Park police officials would not talk on camera and wouldn't say whether the lieutenant would have been fired had he not quit sooner.