MOUNT DORA, Fla. — The police chief of Mount Dora has been fired after an investigation into his conduct.
- "Lengthy" investigation launched into John O'Grady's conduct
- He was on paid leave after making racial remarks at charity golf event
- Another Mount Dora Police officer was also under investigation
- RELATED: Mount Dora Police Chief on Leave After Making Allegedly Offensive Comments
The release of Police Chief and Public Safety Director John O'Grady was announced during a brief news conference by city officials Tuesday afternoon at the Mount Dora Police Department on North Donnelly Street.
The "lengthy" investigation stemmed from a complaint filed against O'Grady. It found evidence of unlawful harassment, insensitive comments, favoritism, ethical concerns, and improper policies and procedures.
City officials said there was "overwhelming evidence of a department fraught with distrust and a lack of respect for O’Grady’s leadership." The investigation also concluded that O'Grady engaged in "behavior unbecoming of a city of Mount Dora employee," a statement by the city said.
In April, O'Grady had been placed on paid leave after being accused of making racially insensitive remarks during a charity golf tournament event.
“The comment that was made here ultimately led to an investigation that led to other misconduct that they're using to justify the termination. The question is in this case, whether that other misconduct was a pretext to be able to justify the firing for the comment that was made," said attorney Larry Walters, who specializes in first amendment rights.
According to a report on the investigation, O'Grady also reportedly took possession of a lost puppy and refused to return it when the rightful owners came forward. On top of that, he allegedly wanted the officers to penalize the owners in the hopes it would dissuade them from wanting their puppy back.
During the investigation, a number of witnesses were questioned, including several employees who said they didn't trust O'Grady.
The report also said there was “overwhelming evidence of a department fraught with distrust and a lack of respect for Chief O'Grady's leadership."
City officials say there are no further investigations into the matter, and the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement told Spectrum News they are not investigating either.
Another Mount Dora Police officer, Sgt. Keith Taylor, resigned in late June amid an investigation into his conduct. The city hasn't said whether the incidents are related.
Acting Chief Robert Bell will continue in his role until a search is done for a permanent replacement, they said.