WATCH: Review Board Recommends Firing Orlando Officer For Racially Insensitive Facebook Posts

ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s a series of Facebook comments from August that are still haunting Orlando police Officer Robert Schellhorn after Orlando’s Citizens Police Review Board voted on Wednesday to recommend a zero-tolerance social media policy which includes Schellhorn being fired.

“Who wants police officers with that point of view patrolling the streets,” said Henry Lim, who sits on the Citizens Police Review Board.

Those views were posted in August, on a Facebook post from Schellhorn’s personal account ‘R D Schell’. A friend sent the comments to community activist T.J. Legacy-Cole who said the comments were racially fueled and even spread white supremacist rhetoric. He immediately filed an internal affairs complaint at the Orlando Police Department after he saw the posts.

“There were comments within the post where Schellhorn called black people ‘useless savages,” Legacy-Cole said. “He said that athletes who protest police brutality and racism called them ‘overpaid thugs’ and thugs is a code word for n*****.”

Legacy-Cole said comments like that causes a divide in the community and for some, fear.

“You have to be fearful that this guy is going to harm you,” he said. “These are things that are concerning and if we are living in a community that is Orlando United and no place for hate, then we can’t have an officer who is armed, patrolling our streets that has spewed racial hatred.”

He was one of several people listed in the 14-page Internal Affairs investigation summary who complained about the posts. In the summary, Schellhorn told internal affairs his words were misconstrued.

“That was never my intent. There was never any racial anything behind anything I said,” an internal affairs investigator documented in the report.

Schellhorn also said those posts were out of anger, written right after two Kissimme police officers were shot and killed in the line of duty in August.

“Absolutely poor decision…that was a very angry post based on uh, six officers had gotten shot that weekend…two of which I knew, one of whom I knew very well, Officer Baxter from KPD,” Schellhorn told IA. “That was a very emotional response and…if I had the opportunity to do it again I would not respond to it as harshly.”

In the end, Internal Affairs ruled Schellhorn violated OPD’s social media policy and Chief John Mina suspended him 80 hours without pay.

News 6 learned Wednesday, it’s not the first time he’s been disciplined since he’s been on the force at OPD since 2004.

A News 6 investigation from 2012, showed Schellhorn was one of nine officers caught speeding in patrol cars.

Also, in 2014, Schellhorn was investigated after he shot a suspect in an officer-involved shooting. The shooting was found justified and he was cleared.

Now, however, the Citizens Police Review Board is calling for his termination as part of a recommendation for OPD to have a zero-tolerance social media policy change.

The board is also recommending that all citizen internal affairs come before the board, after they learned Legacy-Cole also filed a complaint against Officer Shawn Dunlap, however the board never reviewed Dunlap’s complaint.

“Office Dunlap was treated as a witness and could not therefore be considered as a principal,” Lim said. “It’s a bogus explanation in my opinion.”

An OPD spokesperson said Mina was not available to comment on the Board’s recommendation on Wednesday and won’t comment until he receives the official letter from the Citizens Police Review board, which is being drafted now and voted for approval in August.

Source: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/review-board-recommends-firing-orlando-officer-for-facebook-posts

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5620 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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