FRUITLAND PARK, Fla. — The ex-wife of a police officer who left the department after a report tied him to the Ku Klux Klan told investigators that the couple joined the group as part of an undercover operation, according to a report released Tuesday by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Ann Hunnewell said she and her ex-husband, George Hunnewell, joined the KKK in 2008 at the request of then-Police Chief Mark Isom. She said they were trying to find out if another officer was a KKK member.
No one answered the phone at numbers listed for Isom. The officer Hunnewell said she and her ex-husband were investigating later resigned.
Ann Hunnewell was a secretary for the police department before leaving in 2010.
Her statements were contained in a Florida Department of Law Enforcement report tying officer Hunnewell and Deputy Chief David Borst to the KKK. Borst resigned and Hunnewell was fired last week.
A phone number listed for Borst was disconnected. Hunnewell’s number was not listed.
The information about the former officers was given to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement by the FBI. Parts of the Florida report were redacted and it’s not clear what the FBI was investigating when it discovered the officers link to the KKK.
An FBI spokesman in Jacksonville hasn’t responded to a voicemail.
Ann Hunnewell told investigators that she and her former husband never paid dues, attended meetings or witnessed any criminal activity. She also said there was no documentation of their undercover operation.
Fruitland Park Police Chief Terry Isaacs wasn’t in his office Tuesday and City Manager Gary La Venia wouldn’t comment. La Venia said the police chief would issue a statement on Wednesday.
The police department has 13 officers for the city has about 5,000 residents. It is located about 40 miles northwest of Orlando.
Fruitland Park was once known for its citrus groves and is in Lake County, where KKK violence in the 1940s and 1950s was rampant.
The State Attorney’s Office told city officials that pending cases from the officers will be reviewed, although Borst’s job was primarily administrative and didn’t involve much patrolling, La Venia said.