Brevard, FL (Florida Today) -- A Brevard County jail deputy will be reprimanded for bringing
Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea to work Saturday, items associated with
the then-ongoing George Zimmerman trial and items that some fellow
employees found offensive, sheriff's officials said.
Wayne Ivey called Chris Wood's actions "insensitive and inappropriate,"
and said Wood explained he was trying to convey a "need for
professionalism amongst co-workers during the emotional and lengthy
Wood obviously underestimated the depth and varying personal opinions of
his co-workers and now realizes that his message and delivery was
poorly constructed and inappropriate."
incident occurred Saturday morning. That night, a jury returned a not
guilty verdict on a charge of murder against Zimmerman, the man who shot
and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford last year. Martin was
carrying Skittles and a drink at the time of his death. Those items
quickly became symbolic of the case as it drew scrutiny as to whether
Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, had racially profiled Martin, who was black.
said there was no indication Wood's actions or statements were racially
motivated. The sheriff said Wood put the items on display and meant to
spread a message about the need to separate personal and professional
opinions, but delivered the message poorly in a "split second."
sheriff said Wood accepted full responsibility for his actions and said
it was not Wood's intention to offend anyone. The deputy apologized for
the "unclear and potentially divisive message," Ivey said in a
statement, and also apologized to his coworkers Wednesday morning.
Wood has been with the agency about 10 years and is part of the canine team. He could not be reached for comment.
who learned of the incident Sunday night, said an internal affairs
investigation was launched after an anonymous caller reported the
incident. He said he reached out to community leaders after learning
what happened to assure them he was handling the situation immediately.
part of the overall reprimand, I am requiring Deputy Wood to attend
training in communications (and) interpersonal and sensitivity skills,"
the sheriff said.