ERIE COUNTY (WTOL/AP)-- The Sandusky Register is reporting two Ohio State Highway Patrol Troopers almost lost their jobs after one of them, while in uniform, dressed up like a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
It happened at the Sandusky post back in January, just one day before Martin Luther King Junior Day.
News 11 has obtained the photo from the Sandusky Register.
12-year Ohio Highway Patrol veteran Craig Franklin is pictured in the Jan. 20 photo with a white cone on his head, white paper mask with eye holes and a white cloth covering his shoulders.
According to police documents on the paper's website, Sergeant Eric Wlodarsky was on duty with Trooper Franklin. The picture was taken with a cell phone on January 20th and sent to another trooper, Sergeant Jason Demuth at the Norwalk post.
The paper says the Sandusky troopers were almost fired for the racist garb. Instead, Wlodarsky was demoted from sergeant to trooper and Franklin was placed on a five-day, unpaid suspension.
Franklin and Trooper Eric Wlodarsky told an investigator that the picture was taken as a joke while both were on duty at the patrol's Sandusky post and was modeled on a television skit by comedian Dave Chappelle.
We showed the picture to some people to get their reaction.
Matt Majchszak says, "I would wonder why...even if it is a joke why do something like that."
Kevin Neumann says he needs to know more. "I guess I'd have to see the context of it because something like that could easily be taken out of context but I do know the Chapelle Show is known for that kind of off color humor."
Edward Moore says, "Oh, my God. You got to be kidding me. That's terrible."
Both of the troopers involved must now go to diversity awareness training. The trooper who was sent the photo was given a one-day suspension for not reporting it.
Highway patrol officials began an investigation after the patrol's Administrative Investigative Unit received an anonymous letter that included two photographs of Franklin in the outfit.
Posted by N Dutton