Former Prospect assistant police chief who told LMPD recruit to 'shoot' black people earned $13,000 during suspension
Prospect officials learned in November that the Jefferson County Attorney’s office would not be bringing charges against Shaw, allowing the city to move forward with the internal investigation.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Former Prospect Assistant Police Chief Todd Shaw was allowed to remain on paid leave for nearly three months -- earning about $13,000 -- after he was found to have sent numerous racist and sexist Facebook messages to a Louisville Metro Police recruit.
The reason: The suburban Jefferson County city had to wait until a separate criminal investigation of Shaw had ended, according to an attorney for the city.
Shaw, who told a Louisville Metro Police recruit that if he catches juveniles smoking marijuana, he should "shoot them” if they are black, earned $12,957 from the time he was suspended on Sept. 1 until he resigned Nov. 20, according to documents released Wednesday by Prospect.
In addition, the city paid him about $29,000 in sick pay, vacation time and money left on his contract, according to the documents.
Prospect officials were alerted on Aug. 31 of several “highly disturbing racist and threatening Facebook messages” to the recruit, according to a letter from Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell.
During his suspension, Prospect Police Chief Jeff Sherrard conducted an internal investigation in compliance with the state’s "Police Officer Bill of Rights,” attorney Charles Cole, who represents the city, said in a response to request for records from the media.
The length of that investigation “is explained by the potential for criminal charges,” Cole wrote.
Shaw was under investigation for allegedly interfering in the sexual abuse probe of the Louisville Metro Police’s Explorer program.
Prospect officials learned in November that the Jefferson County Attorney’s office would not be bringing charges against Shaw, allowing the city to move forward with the internal investigation, Cole wrote.
Cole did not respond to a request for comment as to exactly why the city had to wait until the criminal investigation was completed.
The Propsect police department deemed the Facebook messages “deeply offensive and racist,” supporting the officer’s termination, and “interrogated” Shaw according to Cole. Instead of being fired, Shaw resigned.
Shaw served with LMPD for more than 20 years before joining the Prospect department in 2012. In one of the Facebook messages, the LMPD recruit asked Shaw what to do in a scenario in which he catches three juveniles smoking marijuana.
The question was part of a paper the recruit was writing about “the right thing to do,” according to O’Connell’s letter.
“F--- the right thing,” Shaw allegedly responded. “If black shoot them.”
And as for what to tell the parents of the juveniles, Shaw said: “… call their (pa)rents … if mom is hot then f--- her … if dad is hot then handcuff him and make him suck my d---,” according to O’Connell’s letter.
Shaw continued, “Unless daddy is black. … Then shoot him.”
Shaw has declined to comment. His attorney, Mike Burns, did not respond to a previous request for comment.
O’Connell told Evans that prosecutors found the Facebook messages while screening the criminal case for possible criminal prosecution against Shaw.
“There is no place in police departments for men or women who hold such strongly held prejudices, including recommending shooting people simply because of their race,” O’Connell wrote.
The LMPD recruit was not named. The recruit sent racist responses to Shaw as well, according to O'Connell's letter.
LMPD Chief Conrad said the recruit was employed by the department from Oct. 17, 2016 until he resigned on Feb. 27, 2017.
In the August letter, O’Connell told Evans his office would not move forward with any prosecutions in which Shaw might be called to testify, and would notify defense attorneys about the Facebook messages. Prosecutors are in the process of dismissing about two dozen cases because of Shaw's credibility problems.
Shaw, who retired from LMPD as a sergeant in 2009, was investigated for providing illegal assistance to Kenneth Betts, one of two officers charged with committing sexual abuse of teens while with the Louisville department’s Explorer mentoring program.
In another Facebook message, Shaw told the recruit housing projects needed to be leveled.
"For years I have seen the blacks live off uss (sic) and putting them in one big housing area breeds HUGE peoblems (sic)" Shaw wrote. "We don't see a Muslim problem around here we just see lazy ass people that don't want to work and that entices more Mexicans to cross the border and take the American jobs ... ."
And in a message about Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Shaw said King was "nothing but a raciast (sic) womanizer ... but because someone shot him, I get a day off with pay each year so I will take it."
Last October, as LMPD undercover officers were preparing to serve a search warrant for computers at Betts’ business, Betts allegedly asked Shaw to access the National Crime Information Center database, or NCIC, to run the license plates of the officers to determine their identities, the sources said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the investigation.
Shaw was accused of ordering a Prospect officer to run the plates for Betts, who was no longer a police officer when he made the request. Betts resigned from LMPD in 2014.
Records released Wednesday showed Shaw had no disciplinary infractions while with LMPD. And every reference interviewed by Prospect officials recommended Shaw for the job with the department, saying he was a good officer and person.
One of those interviewed was former LMPD Maj. Curtis Flaherty, who has been sued over alleged cover-up of sex abuse in the department's youth Explorer program.
"He had nothing negative to say about Shaw, either in personal dealings or by reputation," according to a summary of Flaherty's interview.
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