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article imageTwo Ohio State Patrol Troopers Fired For KKK Joke

By Susan Duclos     May 6, 2008 in Politics
Two Ohio State Patrol troopers have been canned from their jobs after one dressed up using crude props to imitate the KKK and the other took a picture of it. This happened the day before Martin Luther King Day.
Evidently Officer Craig Franklin donned a piece of paper with holes punched out for eyes in front of his face like a mask, and wearing a makeshift robe and paper cone on his head and Officer Eric Wlodarsky snapped a picture with his cellphone and forwarded the picture to other co-workers.
The reference with the hood, robe and mask is apparent to anyone familiar with the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), which is a group that wears such outfits in their "ceremonies".
The KKK is best known for advocating white supremacy and acting as vigilantes while hidden behind conic masks and white robes. The first KKK arose in the turmoil after the Civil War.
The incident occurred on Jan. 20, 2008 and as soon as the higher ups saw the photo, they started an investigation and the two troopers had to attend hearings in front of superior officers, and yesterday the Ohio Highway Patrol announced the two officers were fired for their tasteless prank.
Previously the two troopers were disciplined for the photo in March, when Franklin was suspended without pay for five days and the officer that took the photo, Wlodarsky, was demoted from sergeant to trooper and transferred out of the Sandusky post.
Furthermore, both officers were required to attend diversity awareness training sessions.
A third trooper was suspended for a day for receiving the photo and not reporting it to superiors.
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, unsatisfied by the punishments, met in late April with the state's public safety director and the head of the state patrol to discuss the internal investigation. "This morning, Strickland determined that the sanctions which had been imposed by the Patrol were inadequate," according to an April 22 release form the governor's office, "and he asked … to immediately begin the proceedings to terminate the employment of the trooper and the sergeant involved."
Wlodarsky and Franklin or the Ohio State Troopers Association have 14 days to start an arbitration process that could earn them their jobs back.
Both officers have claimed the photo shoot was a joke aimed at mimicking a a sketch by a black comedian, Dave Chappelle, which in a very long sketch, Chappelle plays a blind white supremacist by the name of Clayton Bigsby. Clayton gets interviewed, thinking he is white based on what his foster caretakers have told him, and the world finds out the truth about this African-bashing, African-American author.
Photo from a scene in Chappelle's "Black KKK":
Both officers have told reporters they are "remorseful".
More about Klux klan, Ohio, Police