Action News Jax Investigates: JSO Lieutenant accused of online racism

by: Catherine Varnum Updated:


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Claims of racism are being leveled against a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office lieutenant, centered on her Instagram posts.

These posts were made in the last few months. Sources have confirmed the officer in the pictures on the Instagram account is Lt. Trudy Callahan.
Action News Jax has learned Callahan has been with JSO for several years and is currently on the board of directors with the Fraternal Order of Police.
A tipster alerted us to the posts, calling them racist.

The posts were made over the course of several weeks by Callahan. Here are some of the postings that we found.
In one post, we have blurred out some of the text on the picture because it uses the "n" word.

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It shows a sketch of a black man with dreadlocks, the post insinuating this is what all black men look like.

The second picture shows a black man standing in a drive thru line at an ATM. The account belonging to Callahan posted the comment, "When you need money to get gas for the car you can't drive up to the ATM."

Another picture shows an African-American man lying on a broken fence. 
The comment from Callahan's account reads, “yea it's almost Friday so get your hood hammock ready to chilax.”

Late Friday, JSO said it is now looking into the posts.
Steve Amos, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, where Callahan is a board member, released the following statement:

"Although I have not seen the Instagram posts that you are referring to, I can say that the FOP is an organization that represents a diverse group of officers and our elected Executive Board reflects that diversity in it's make up. We collectively do not condone or support any public comment on social media, or otherwise, that any member posts that may be considered insensitive to any individual or group. I sincerely appreciate that you've brought this to my attention so that we may investigate the matter further. 

"Let me add that any public posts or comments of that nature do not reflect the core values and principals of the Fraternal Order of Police."

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Action News Jax Crime and Safety Expert Ken Jefferson spent more than 20 years at JSO.

He said there's a line you can't cross as a police officer. He said even though these posts are on the lieutenant's personal page, as a high ranking officer in JSO, this creates distrust in the community.

Jefferson tells me these posts could have implications throughout the community.

“That's not good at a time when you're trying to build a relationship with a community,” Jefferson said. “When people know you care, they'll trust you and cooperate and you'll see crime go down.”