‘If black then shoot’: Released records show hateful messages from former Kentucky officer

(Courtesy: WCMH)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WCMH) — New documents have been released surrounding the circumstances that caused a former police officer to resign from his job.

Jefferson County has released private Facebook messages, including racist memes and rants, sent by Todd Shaw, a former assistant police chief in Prospect, Kentucky.

“This is just blatant, raw, visceral, nasty, horrible behavior and comments,” O’Connell told WAVE. “I hope he never shows his face in Jefferson County again.”

WAVE reports the messages date back to 2010, and some of them were sent by Shaw to a former Louisville Metropolitan Police Department recruit, giving “advice” about the treatment of juvenile black suspects.

“If black, then shoot,” one of the messages read.

In another, Shaw wrote, “ML King was nothing but a racist (sic) womanizer but because someone shot him, I get a day off with pay each year so I will take it.”

Shaw also wrote, “What has policing come to when all you can shoot are white people and injured deer.”

Shaw’s comments also referred to sexually assaulting an imaginary black couple, unless, the message said, “Daddy is black…then shoot him.”

After reading through the comments, O’Connell sent a letter to the mayor of Prospect. Shaw was suspended the next day and an internal investigation began. Shaw later resigned from his post.

Louisville Metropolitan Council President David James worries if Shaw’s apparent bias towards people of color may have led to wrongful arrests.

“It only takes one incident like this one to cover the entire department with embarrassment, shame and humiliation,” James said. “What has he done to people of color in our community?”

So far, 24 cases in which Shaw was the sole witness have been dismissed, and the recruit Shaw sent most of those messages to dropped out of training before it was over.