• Volusia Co. beach officer accused of posting racially-insensitive photos, comments


    VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - One Volusia County law enforcement officer is off the job Friday after he posted insensitive comments and images related to the State versus George Zimmerman trial.

    Beach safety officer Todd Snipes allegedly wrote "another thug gone" on his Facebook page.

    Officials said a picture of Trayvon Martin was posted on Snipes' Facebook page with insensitive comments and said another image showing a caricature of star witness Rachel Jeantel was traced to his email.

    County officials said an internal affairs investigation is underway to look into the details of alleged Facebook comments about Martin.

    A county councilman said they were racially charged, insensitive and a fire-able offense.

    Volusia County officials said inappropriate images were traced to Snipes, who is a longtime officer with Beach Safety Ocean Rescue.

    "It's disgraceful, it's disgusting, it's improper. It's beyond insensitive," said Volusia County Councilman Josh Wagner.

    Officials said another picture included Paula Deen with a racial statement and one showing her as the entire female jury.

    "Just because you didn't do it while you're on the job, in our policies, it sets forth reasons that you can be fired and this would be one of them," Wagner said.

    County officials said Snipes is entitled to due process and said an internal affairs investigation will be conducted.

    "The employee is on paid administrative leave. These clearly are images that are racially insensitive," said Volusia County spokesperson Dave Byron.

    Beach Safety Ocean Rescue, formerly Beach Patrol, has come under fire in the past for sex scandals and accidents on the beach.

    Officials said the county has continually pressed the department for upstanding behavior.

    Wagner said he is happy with the county's quick response to this situation.

    "I think this is an example of county government being sensitive of the issue and immediately responding and doing the right thing," Wagner said.

    Snipes will be on paid administrative leave until the internal investigation is complete.

    Officials said they're not sure how long it will take but said they do not plan to drag it out.

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