Todd Shaw (Police Officer)

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James Todd Shaw is a former Police officer ​ who resigned after an investigation led to the discovery of racist comments and instructions by Shaw to his subordinates regarding the treatment of African Americans ​. [1] [2] [3] ​ In one instance, he told a recruiter when apprehending an individual with possession of Marijuana ​: "F*** the right thing. If black shoot them.” [4]

Photo of James Todd Shaw having an interview.

Personal Life and Activities

Shaw was born and raised in the state of Kentucky ​. He had most of his upbringing in the town of Leitchfield and attended Grayson County High School. [5] [6]


After high school, he attended Eastern Kentucky University ​ where he received his BS degree in Police Administration in 1989. He then attended Auburn University of Montgomery and University of Louisville ​ for his graduate school credits​ degree in Criminal justice ​. [7]

Photo of Todd Shaw from an interview he had done.

Police Training Over the Last 30 Years

Other Police Training over the years:

Southern Police Institute / Administrative Officer Course 113
Certified Police Instructor Kentucky Law Enforcement Council
Certified Verbal Judo Instructor on redirecting behavior with words
Academy of Police Supervision / DOCJT Richmond, KY
Jefferson County Police Post/Pre Academy
Graduate of Kentucky State Police Academy Class #71
Graduate Huntsville Police 18-Week Basic Training Academy
Certified Emergency Medical Technician State of Kentucky (1985)
Certified Commonwealth of Kentucky Firefighter (1984) [8]


While in college, Shaw worked as a Firefighter and EMT in the city of Caneyville ​'s fire department. He worked there from 1984 to 1989. [9]

Police Officer

He became a police officer for the city of Huntsville, Alabama ​. He worked as a General Patrol officer responding to calls for service. While at the department, his main assigned was to assist the Chief's office in generating and reviewing policies to comply with Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. [10]

He worked there until December of 1994. [11]

State Trooper

For the Commonwealth of Kentucky, he worked as State Trooper for Kentucky State Police ​ for several months predominantly as a Road Trooper. He had extensive training in interpersonal communications and dealing with difficult people. [12] [13]

While working as a Road Trooper for those short months included his involvement in major cases like homicides, fatal crashes, Sexual/physical abuse, and others. He was fully in charge of initiating, investigating, and following through the cases until their final disposition. [14] [15]

He was considered very active in the eradication of Kentucky’s number one illegal cash crop of Marijuana ​. [16] [17]

Police Sergeant

After working as a State Trooper, he began his work as a Sergeant for the Louisville Metro Government until 2009. [18]

Response Team Member

He formed part of Supporting Heroes, Inc. where members of the police department defend and help people families who have been affected by their loved ones being killed in the line of duty. [19]

Assistant Police Chief

Shaw was the Assistant Police Chief for the city of Prospect and retired in November of 2017. [20]

Racist Controversy

After Shaw allegedly tried to assist another officer by improperly accessing the National Crime Information Center database in order to help them in their Sexual Assault case. [21] ​ During the investigation, prosecutors were given access to Facebook messages sent by Officer Shaw and found bigoted and racist commentary regarding the treatment of Black youth and African Americans ​ in crime-ridden areas of Kentucky. [22]

In the end, Prosecutors found Officer Shaw had done nothing wrong. During the court hearing of the case, Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman said that since Shaw was the acting Assisting Chief of Police, "that responsibility lends itself to a higher level of public scrutiny." She also said the following [23] ​:

"While the Court understands how embarrassing the documents may be to Shaw personally, they are not of the private nature intended to be shielded from public disclosure. The documents reveal opinions and prejudices that bring into question Shaw's integrity as a law enforcement officer who has been entrusted to serve and protect all members of society." [24]

The back and forth messages from Shaw and the recruiter spanned from September to October 2016, with a few messages from 2017. Shaw was to give advice to the recruiter who was to write about the right thing to do if he were to come across three juveniles who were smoking marijuana. [25]

Youtube Video
"If They are Black, Shoot them" Says Cop
From My life in the Chi.

Racist Facebook Messages Written By Shaw:

"F--- the right thing... If black shoot them." [26]

Shaw wrote "racially threatening statements," which included instructions on "how to handle the juveniles' parents." Such as: "...if mom is hot then fuck her...if dad is hot then handcuff him and make him suck my dick." [27]

Regarding the parents of black youth in possession of Marijuana ​: "Unless daddy is black...Then shoot him." [28]

Shaw told the recruiter there will be a form he would have to fill out and sign declaring disassociation from racists and racist organizations. He told the recruiter [29] ​:

"wasn't racist or associated with racists or associated with racist or hate groups per some KY law... What has POLICING come to when all you can shoot are white people and injured deer," Shaw allegedly wrote. "Lol." [30]

In a message by Shaw that was dated on April 18th, 2017, he wrote the following about Martin Luther King Jr. ​: "He nothing but a [racist] womanizer... But because someone shot him, I get a day off with pay each year so I will take it. [31]

On March 6th, he expressed in a message that he needed "target practice" when referring to the "revitalized Russell neighborhood," named after African-American educator and Kentucky native Harvey Clarence Russell. [32]

The recruit he advised was hired in the department on Oct. 17, 2016 and resigned on Feb. 27, 2017. [33]


LMPD Chief Steve Conrad said the following in a statement [34] ​:

"I am disgusted by the shocking and appalling statements released today – between the former Prospect Assistant Chief of Police Todd Shaw, and a former LMPD recruit." [35]

Prospect Mayor John Evans said the following about Shaw's Facebook messages:

“While it is important to note that all the communications either sent or received by Shaw were sent privately, the City finds the content of the messages to be abhorrent, disgusting, and, reprehensible." [36]

Shaw resigned after the records were shared with the Prospect Police Department, which launched its own investigation, according to court documents. No reprimands were issued against Shaw. [37] [38] [39]

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