Bradenton police officer fired following inappropriate Facebook posts, mishandling of arrest

Manatee County

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – The Bradenton Police Chief has fired an officer after an investigation into what she called “insensitive and racially disparaging” material he shared on his Facebook page.

A separate investigation found Officer Jerard Vonador’s handling of a domestic violence case also violated BPD policies, Chief Melanie Bevan said in a press release.

8 On Your Side spoke off-camera with Vonador, who is African American, on Monday night. The seven-year officer with the department said the comments he made and the posts he shared on Facebook were in jest.

He added he believes the social media posts, not his handling of the domestic violence case, led to his termination. 

In June, BPD internal affairs started reviewing Vonador’s personal Facebook account dating back to 2019 after the chief received a complaint about him displaying inappropriate material.

The investigation found he violated the department’s social media policy when he called conservative commentator Candace Owns a racial slur.

Police said he also shared a meme of Owens and Dr. Ben Carson that depicted them as Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima. 

Vonador said he reposted the meme as a joke.

The second investigation showed Vonador violated police policy in mishandling a domestic battery complaint that led to the delay in charges being brought against a suspect, police said.

“Any conduct by officers which impairs working relationships, impedes the performance of duties, negatively affects the public perception of the agency, and fails to reflect our core values will not be tolerated,” police said in the press release. 

Vonador told 8 On Your Side he does not plan to appeal the termination nor is he looking for a new law enforcement job.

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