If you’ve heard the story of the Florida town rocked by the news of a KKK member in their local police force, you may be glad to know that there is at least some indication that all may not be as it seems. While the idea of a member of an organization the U.S. identifies as a hate group making it to the top of the Fruitland Park Police Department has a lot of people worrying, the ex-wife of the police chief in question says the truth is something else altogether.
We reported last week that a town in Florida had learned their deputy police chief was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, along with one of his officers. The man, David Borst, stepped down from his position, despite denying allegations. The other officer, George Hunnewell, was dismissed from the force a short time after.
However, Hunnewell’s ex-wife has since come forward to say that her husband was not a real member of the KKK, but an undercover agent who had infiltrated the group under orders from a commanding officer. According to ABC, Ann Hunwell was married to the police officer at that time and working as a secretary to Fruitland Park’s police force. She claims that she and her husband worked together to infiltrate the local branch of the KKK in 2008-2009 with great success.
It’s also notable that the FBI informant who reported that Borst and Hunnewell were Klan members is himself a Grand Dragon (a high rank in the KKK) in Florida, and he was a member of the same police force before his own KKK membership led to him being forced to quit in 2009, as the Orlando Sentinel notes.
However, with all accounts conflicting — for instance, Hunnewell and his superior officers deny Ann Hunnewell’s claim about the police undercover operation, and there are varying accounts about whether Borst knew about Hunnewell’s Klan membership. Since both men have denied any affiliation with the KKK — it’s hard to be certain exactly what the truth is in the matter.
Though the FBI report does not name the informant, it may be James Elkins, who, according to Christian Science Monitor, left the Fruitland Park Police Department in 2010 over his own KKK ties. While the informant is said to have left in 2009, it’s possible the FBI report was fudged to cover his identity or that there is simply some disparity in the records or reporting. If Elkins is the informant, and if, as Ann Hunnewell claims, the infiltration was to determine whether he had KKK ties, then he would have had reason to hold a grudge.
However, if Elkins is not the informant and all other allegations are accurate and true, the alternative is that one town’s police force has been home to five KKK members (Borst, Both Hunnewells, Elkins, and the unnamed informant) in the past six years, which is a frightening possibility.