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A Polk County, FL prosecutor faces discipline for sending an email to a police officer suggesting that a meeting of the Polk Minority Justice Association would be “a good opportunity for a K9 training exercise.”

The prosecutor for the 10th Judicial Circuit, Jack Riley, made the comment in relation to an upcoming meeting of the Polk Minority Justice Association (PMJA), which is made up of predominantly African-American members. The email was discovered after the President of the PMJA, a local pastor named Clayton Cowart, submitted a public records request to the State Attorney’s Office for all email correspondence that included his name.  Cowart says Riley’s suggestion is offensive in light of the torment African-American people suffered at the hands of police dogs in the 1960’s while gathering for peaceful protest.

The Ledger reports that the PMJA, which seeks to hear complaints of police brutality and unethical treatment among the community, has been infiltrated by Polk County Sheriffs Deputies in the past.

State Attorney Jerry Hill excused Riley’s comment as poor humor and defended him as an unprejudiced person. Hill won’t say what discipline Riley will receive.


Rick Rousos, “Polk Prosecutor Facing Disciplinary Action After ‘Offensive’ Comments,” The Ledger, September 6, 2013.


“… Riley’s emails were part of a string of correspondence sent to some Winter Haven police officers and a Sheriff’s Office detective. The K-9 remark was sent to Michael Leonard, a Winter Haven detective.
Winter Haven Police Chief Gary Hester said he had no control over what people send his officers, but said he could control what those officers send. Hester said it appears his officers did nothing wrong, but information technology workers “are triple checking” to make sure.
Riley, 50, who has worked as a 10th Judicial Circuit prosecutor since 1987, faces discipline when he returns from an extended leave of absence, Hill said…”

Read the entire article here.

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