View Full Version : Cop accused of ‘blatant racism,’ excessive force wins ‘officer of the year’ award

The Bobster
06-26-2019, 12:10 PM

Cop accused of ‘blatant racism,’ excessive force wins ‘officer of the year’ award
By Joshua Rhett Miller
June 25, 2019 | 1:59pm | Updated June 25, 2019 | 3:46pm


A Florida police department will review its annual award procedures after a cop previously accused of excessive force and “blatant racism” was named its 2018 patrol officer of the year, according to a report.

Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón said in a statement that he believes department brass must improve their “selection and evaluation process” after Officer Jonathan Mills received the award in February, one year after he was reassigned from a tactical squad for calling a black woman’s hairdo “sad” :eek: during a traffic stop in 2016, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

“I will be working with my command staff as we go through our awards policies and we will be implementing changes to those policies to ensure that the entire process is beyond reproach,” Rolón said in a statement to the newspaper.

Mills, who is white, was disciplined with a reprimand after the March 2016 traffic stop in Parramore, where he was caught in police bodycam footage denigrating a black woman’s appearance. :eek:

“That hairdo is sad,” Mills said. “You’ve got to get your hair done, girl.”

A subsequent internal affairs probe found that Mills’ comment violated department policy and reflected poorly on the department. The vice president of the Orlando Citizens Police Review Board also accused Mills of “blatant racism” during the encounter.

“If he received this award, what message is OPD sending to the citizens they are sworn to protect and serve?” Caila Coleman told the Sentinel. “I would like to believe there are other officers who were better qualified to receive such a prestigious title.”

Mills, who received sensitivity training before being reassigned to patrol duties, was then named in two excessive force lawsuits that were settled by the city in 2017 for a total of $130,000.

In one incident, a man claimed Mills sexually assaulted him as he searched for drugs during a traffic stop in 2014, while another man accused Mills of slamming him to the ground without provocation after pulling him over in October 2013, the Sentinel reports.

But city officials maintained that the settlements were not an admission of guilt, claiming that Mills had acted appropriately during the traffic stops.

“Based on the process in place at the time of his nomination and the nominating packet that was presented to the awards committee, Officer Mills’ Patrol Officer of the Year Award will not be rescinded,” an Orlando police spokesman said. “There was never a complaint filed against Officer Mills that accused him of making a racist comment. His comments were discovered as part of a review of a traffic stop and our Internal Affairs division found his ‘behavior embarrassing and it reflected poorly on the department.’ ”

A colleague of Mills, meanwhile, praised him as the most “proactive officer” in his unit, citing the 100-plus arrests he made last year, leading to six handguns being seized, as well as $11,000 cash and more than 3 pounds of marijuana.

“Ofc. Mills has faced some adversity in his career but never became bitter or disheartened,” Sgt. David Baker wrote. “He learned from his past, moved forward and became stronger.”