Seattle’s interim police chief fired an officer for making a racist comment about a black man last year after three officers who reported their colleague’s comments conducted an internal review. This is based on records released by the city police guard last week.
The officer, who was not identified by name in the investigation summary released by the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) on January 11, was fired in November, Amy Clancy, spokeswoman for interim chief Adrian Diaz, said in an email on Saturday.
The officer had been with the department since July 2017 and was assigned to the Northern District, Clancy said.
The department “is committed to building genuine and lasting trust and respect with every member of our community,” added Clancy in a statement emailed. “Chief Adrian Diaz has made it clear that the Seattle Police Department will not tolerate any actions or statements by its members that undermine that trust.”
Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, said in an email on Saturday that the common officials’ union had “NOT appealed this case,” and declined to comment.
In late March 2020, the officer and the other three responded to a trespass in a north Seattle hospital that caused them to remove a black man who, according to the African investigation summary, appeared to be “of African descent.”
A few nights later, when all four officers were waiting together for a meal, the officer said to the others, “Do you remember Kunta Kinte, the man from Northwest Hospital a few days ago?” According to the case summary.
Kunta Kinte is the name of a central figure in Alex Haley’s 1976 novel “Roots”, a young African man from the 18th century who was sold into slavery and brought to America.
After one of the witness officers immediately told the officer “that his testimony was racist,” the officer denied it and walked away, according to the summary of the case.
The three witness officers did not immediately report the remark, the executive summary says, but “after discussing the matter together, they decided that under the guidelines they were required to do so.”
During the OPA investigation, the three officers confirmed that their counterpart had referred to the man as Kunta Kinte, with one calling the officer at one point adding an explanation to the reference, the case summary says.
When an OPA investigator questioned the suspected officer, he said he got the name “because the person was African and he could not remember the person’s name,” the abstract said.
The officer later explained to his captain that he knew the name of the character from the TV miniseries “Roots” but claimed that he did not know that he could be viewed as racist.
The official “later researched the term and found that it could be interpreted as racist towards people of African origin.” In the OPA summary it says. He also admitted that he had used profanity against individuals as well.
The officer agreed that his statements violated the department’s prejudice– –Policing guidelines and professionalism as summarized.
Andrew Myerberg, director of the OPA, wrote, “The evidence is very clear” that the officer’s statement “constitutes biased policing”.
“The use of ‘Kunta Kinte’ to refer to a black person, let alone a person of African descent, is racist and is in direct contradiction to politics,” Myerberg wrote. He added that the OPA failed to find the official’s allegations, which he did not know the reference was racially believable, and said the official “should have known that it is improper and unacceptable to act in this way.” African person to relate “.
In September, the OPA announced that the officer had violated the Department of Unprejudiced Policing and Professional Conduct.