Here is a summary of what is being reported:
- In 2009, Fruitland Park Officer James Elkins resigned after his estranged wife, Pamela Elkins (now Pamela Ellingsworth), made his Klan ties public.
- Last week, Officer George Hunnewell was fired and deputy chief David Borst resigned from the Fruitland Park Police Department after accusations were made that they had connections to the Klan as well.
- George Hunnewell's ex-wife, Ann Hunnewell, stated to investigators with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that in 2010 she and George had been working undercover to infiltrate a local chapter of the KKK. She said that the undercover operation had been commissioned by then Fruitland Park Police Chief James Isom to learn more about now fired officer James Elkins' activities. Ms. Hunnewell stated that she and George joined the KKK only as part of the investigation and reported all information to Isom. She said that she and her then husband never participated in any function or activity beyond their initiation, but added she has no documentation to verify the undercover work.
- Former Chief James Isom, who is no longer permitted to be a police officer in Florida after he pled guilty to a criminal charge in 2010 that is unrelated to this issue, provided a sworn statement to authorities to the effect that he never organized an undercover operation of the KKK involving George or Ann Hunnewell.
- The allegations against former deputy chief David Borst appear to be hearsay. He vehemently denies the accusations against him, and told authorities that he resigned his position to protect his family from embarrassment.
How integrated is/was the KKK into this small 13-member Florida police department?
I sure am.
I am not sure the Fruitland Park Police Department will be able to regain the trust of the people. It sounds like they may need to shut the place down--as the agency will now likely be bombarded by challenges to past criminal investigations and new civil litigation.
As to the story--rather than depending on media translations of official reports, I always try to find the originals so that I can examine them myself.
For those interested, I did find the released report by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement about their investigation. In it, the testimony provided by Pamela Ellingsworth and Ann Hunnewell (or Ann Garner) is detailed.
You can access that report by clicking on this link and being redirected to a television station's site.