*A black officer with the Tampa Police Department has been fired after being caught on camera saying the N-word.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Officer Delvin White — an eight-year veteran of the department and a school resource officer at Middleton High School — was fired Tuesday for “violations of policy that prohibit discriminatory conduct,” the paper said, citing a news release.
White reportedly used the N-word while on the phone, which was discovered after a random audit of his bodycam video. He also admitted using the N-word while arresting a suspect for trespassing on Nov. 30, the paper said.
“To me, what’s more troubling is that as a school resource officer, he would talk to a student that way,” police Chief Brian Dugan said. “I look at as a school resource officer as equivalent to a teacher. Would you want a teacher to talk to your son in that manner?”
White told his superiors he didn’t use the N-word in a derogatory fashion and noted that it’s “commonly used in today’s society as a means of shared culture and experiences among the African American community,” the Times reported.
“Derogatory statements made by police officers jeopardize the trust that our department works to establish with our community,” Chief Dugan said in a statement, according to the paper. “Tampa Police officers are held to a higher standard, and incidents like this negatively impact the entire law enforcement profession.”
Tampa’s police union says it will fight for White to get his job back as school resource officer.
The Tampa Police Benevolent Association agrees that White should be punished for using the N-word but firing him is too harsh.
“We, including Officer White, believe he should have been punished because we all agree no officer should speak that way, but the punishment does not fit the allegations,” said spokesman Danny Alvarez in an interview Wednesday. “Officer White has an incredible record of contributing not only to his community but to the TPD, and to lose him over this would be a travesty.”