A northwest Georgia part-time police officer was fired following community outcry over a Facebook post that called for the hanging of five black convicts in a heinous murder case from 2016.
The Rossville Police Department announced Thursday that it will be relieving Robert "Skipper" Dunn Jr. of his duties. An internal investigation into Dunn's social media activity about the murder in Meriwether County was confirmed Wednesday by Chattanooga-based news station WTVC.
Capt. Dave Scroggins confirmed to AJC.com that Dunn “is no longer employed by the City of Rossville in any position.”
The Facebook post refers to the 2016 home invasion and murder of Dorothy "Dot" Dow, 87, who was brutally beaten and burned to death inside her home. Police said the attackers broke both of Dow's arms and left cuts and bruises on her face, then poured a flammable liquid on her and lit it.
Four of the attackers were sentenced to life in prison — two without the possibility of parole — and the fifth received a seven-year sentence.
On Monday, Dunn shared a post that showed their mug shots, adding the comment, “I think a hanging is in order,” according to WTVC. The post has since been deleted.
Before he was fired, the news station spoke to Dunn, who said he would have suggested the hanging regardless of the race of the suspects. He added that this would be a sad way for his law enforcement career to end.
“It is important that everyone understand Officer Dunn certainly enjoys the First Amendment right to post his opinions,” the police department said in a Facebook post. “However, when those posts or opinions detract from his ability to effectively serve the community, it is in the best interest of the community that he no longer be assigned those duties.”
Dunn has been in law enforcement for nearly 40 years, according to Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council records.
He started in 1981 working for the LaFayette Police Department, records show. He also worked with Dalton police in the late 1980s before transferring back to LaFayette, where he retired in December 2017.
Zachary Hansen, a Georgia native, covers economic development and commercial real estate for the AJC. He's been with the newspaper since 2018 and enjoys diving into complex stories that affect people's lives.