Party planned for ex-cop who allegedly said Trayvon supporters should "be drowned at birth"



WINTER PARK, Fla. - Eyewitness News uncovered plans by Winter Park police to throw a party for a cop who resigned amid accusations that he made racist comments about the Trayvon Martin case.

Lt. Ron Johnson is accused of saying Martin supporters should "be drowned at birth."

Last month, Johnson retired before facing any potential consequences from the department.

WFTV reporter Ryan Hughes found out members of the police force will be allowed to attend the party Thursday, including on-duty uniformed officers, unless they're called to an emergency scene.

Police funds will be used for the party and it will be held at the public safety building.

Some area residents think it's a tasteless idea after the alleged comments by the lieutenant.

Johnson, the Winter Park Police Department ex-lieutenant, resigned last month under a cloud of scrutiny for a derogatory comment he made about African-Americans during a shift meeting about the anniversary of Martin's death.

He apparently said, "This is why they should be drowned at birth."

Johnson left the department amid an internal affairs investigation.

Now the city of Winter Park and the police department are throwing him a farewell party.

Resident Kimberly Williams said throwing a party ignores what he did.

"It's like – let's just wipe over that he didn't do that and honor him," Williams said.

Resident Kirsten DuBois said she completely disagrees with the whole party.

City spokeswoman Clarissa Howard said the party is not open to the public.

Howard said every retiring officer has a reception.

At 4 p.m. Thursday, Johnson's friends, family members and fellow officers will gather to remember his years of service. Cake, soda, coffee and water will be served.

A Winter Park police union representative said the union has no part in the event and isn't helping to pay for it.