Florida officer fired for racist, homophobic Facebook posts

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – The Bradenton Police Department confirmed Thursday an officer has been fired for writing racist and homophobic Facebook posts.

Mark Roberts was fired on Dec. 1. That followed an internal investigation that took close to four months, police said. Roberts was put on desk duty during the investigation.

The posts and comments were made between February 2013 and June 2016. Police said a review board determined the posts violated department policy. The investigation also found Roberts neglected the duties of his job, police said.

Roberts has been with the department for nine years. He was officer of the month in May 2015.

The now-former officer admitted he wrote the posts – and that he sometimes identified himself as a police officer in them. He said the posts were jokes.

One comment was in response to a father whose 17-year-old son was shot while allegedly committing a burglary, police said. Roberts wrote, “I’m glad your kid is dead. Now go make another one.” Police said Roberts also mocked a gay couple.

Police said the investigation began after a June tip that said the officer was making racist comments online.

A Bradenton Police Department spokesperson said Roberts is fighting the firing.

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