Detroit CFO Resigns After "Shoot Someone in a Hoodie” Remark

Jim Bonsall made a racist joke referencing Trayvon Martin.

Posted: 10/16/2013 09:09 AM EDT

Jim Bonsall resigned from his position Tuesday as Detroit's chief financial officer after reportedly asking if he could "shoot someone in a hoodie" during a meeting about a citywide neighborhood watch night. 

City treasurer Cheryl Johnson wrote in a letter that Bonsall's comment came after he asked to ride with a Detroit police officer as he volunteered for Angels' Night. Officials explained that it was a customary practice for Detroit’s officials to participate and that Bonsall could ride with family or friends, according to Johnson's letter.

“Jim stated that he wouldn’t subject his family to that and then said, ‘Can I shoot someone in a hoodie?;” the letter said, according to Detroit News. The comment was a reference to Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed in February 2012 in Sanford, Florida, by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. 

Bonsall has apologized to his employees in a statement. "I apologize and am sorry for having offended coworkers over comments I made during a recent meeting," he said. "Regardless of the outcome of the internal investigation or whether I keep my job as a result of it, it was never my intention to offend anyone."

Johnson, who is African-American, was demoted from finance director to city treasurer on Oct. 3. She believes her position was taken away in retaliation for making complaints against Bonsall. Her letter to Mayor Dave Bing, emergency manager Kevyn Orr and other city officials states that Bonsall mistreated his employees, specifically those who are minority women.  

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(Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

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