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Sheriff’s corporal retires amid investigation of racist post

April 16, 2021 GMT

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A supervisor in the Orange County Sheriff’s Office retired amid an internal investigation into a Facebook post that shared a video from a page that supports white supremacist beliefs.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that Cpl. Danny Weil shared the post in July which depicted multiple clips of mostly Black people “violently attacking” primarily white people.

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Weil wrote, “So disgusting,” as he shared the video to his Facebook page, the investigation found. The video drew racist comments, which the deputy not only liked but but engaged, the newspaper said.

Two other Orange County deputies also commented, though one appeared to express her frustration with the racist video, the report said. The other deputy, along with Weil, used the word “animals” to describe those in the video. Both later said they used the word to describe the behavior, not the people, whom the video portrayed as the aggressors, the Sentinel reported.

The report was finalized in September, after the agency declined Weil’s requests to resolve discipline without completing a full probe, according to records. Michelle Guido, a spokesperson for the agency, told the newspaper the recommended discipline would have been termination had Weil not retired.

He had been a deputy since 1996, Guido said.

Jay Smith, the OCSO union official who represented Weil during the agency’s internal investigation, declined to comment on the case. The newspaper also could not reach Weil for comment.

The post and comments were reported to the sheriff’s office by a woman who called in her concerns and a former Orange County deputy, who provided screenshots of the post and sent them to eight current deputies, the Sentinel reported.

The former deputy who reported the post said he found the video “disturbing,” but was most concerned that Weil “liked” the comment about an “inferior race,” the newspaper reported.

In his interview with investigators, Weil said he didn’t know about the white supremacy views expressed by the person who originally posted the video.

Weil said “he did not intend to offend anyone by his comments and he does not have any bias towards African Americans,” the report said. When asked if he “had racist views towards any minorities,” Weil told investigators: “No, I wouldn’t consider them to be racist.”

The investigation found that Weil deleted a few weeks of Facebook posts in July, and later deleted the entire account.

However, investigators found that Weil violated agency policy on conduct unbecoming and violation of rules.