The Anne Arundel County Police Department has opened an internal investigation into a police training academy instructor's decision to send an email to dozens of his police colleagues calling for President Barack Obama to be voted out of office and challenging government welfare, immigration and other political topics.

In the email, Cpl. Charles "Butch" Benner wrote that a "Nation of Sheep Breeds a Government of Wolves!!!"

He also called for the closing of the country's borders, the establishment of English as the nation's only language and the institution of mandatory drug screening for everyone receiving government welfare assistance.

Brenner's email, which he sent using his official county email account, inspired minority officers to file a formal complaint and the Arundel branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to demand an apology from county and police leaders, according to police and NAACP officials.

The civil rights organization called the email "offensive to both Latinos and African Americans," and demanded that Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold and Police Chief James Teare issue a public apology, condemn Benner's actions and "take appropriate personnel action" to prevent it from happening again.

"We believe that using county resources to disparage racial minorities is absolutely unprofessional and unacceptable," said Jacqueline Boone Allsup, president of the Arundel NAACP branch, in a statement.

Allsup continued: "How can minorities believe that they will be fairly treated when these types of e-mails are being circulated?"

Benner could not be reached for comment, nor could Leopold's office.

Justin Mulcahy, an Anne Arundel police spokesman, said that "as soon as the chief was made aware of the issue, it was turned over to internal affairs to conduct an investigation."

That investigation is ongoing, Mulcahy said. He had no further information on the matter, he said, including whether Benner has been reprimanded.

Benner's email, a copy of which was provided to The Baltimore Sun, says November's presidential election "will determine if liberty in this country will survive," then appears to deride the use of taxpayer dollars for welfare and other government support programs.

Benner wrote that people receiving government assistance have been told taxpayers are "being mean, prejudiced, and racist" when they express qualms with paying for the assistance.

The email ended, "Only 86% will send this on. Should be 100%. What will you do?"

krector@baltsun.com

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