A Black school resource police officer in Florida was recently fired for using the N-word. Any officer who uses a racial slur while on-duty has violated department policy, the Tampa Police Department said in announcing the termination of Delvin White, an eight-year veteran.
White’s violations stemmed from talking on the phone in November when he said the words, “ghetto n******,” the Tampa Police Department wrote in a press release issued Tuesday. The officer’s body camera was somehow activated and recorded White saying the fateful words. After that recording sparked an investigation, White told his bosses weeks later that he also used the N-word during an arrest he made. White’s body camera, again, recorded that exchange, as well.
It all proved to be too much to ignore for the Tampa Police Department.
“Derogatory statements made by police officers jeopardize the trust that our department works to establish with our community,” Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said in a statement. “Tampa Police officers are held to a higher standard and incidents like this negatively impact the entire law enforcement profession.”
Apparently, White could have used the N-word on duty, but only in “extenuating circumstances.” Without them, using a racial slur made him eligible for “immediate dismissal” for violating the City of Tampa Personnel Manual B1.2 Discriminatory Conduct. It was unclear what constituted an extenuating circumstance.
The local police union suggested in a statement that there were indeed extenuating circumstances in White’s case, which would make him exempt from being fired.
“We stand with the City of Tampa and the Tampa Police Department in their efforts to stamp out racism in every form and condemn any and all derogatory statements in or out of uniform,” the Tampa Police Benevolent Association (PBA) told local media outlet News Channel 8.
However, the PBA added, “The facts in the Delvin White matter do not reflect an act or any intent that warrants the punishment he received for his alleged transgression.”
The PBA acknowledged White’s “misstep” but called him “a beloved and trusted member of the East Tampa community” who deserves to keep his job. The union said it planned to file a formal grievance.
Typically it’s a non-Black person getting in trouble for saying the N-word. Especially cops.
However, as evidenced by White’s situation, there are rare cases when Black people land in hot water for using the slur. Those instances are usually accompanied by a metaphorical asterisk, though.
Like the time a Black high school football coach was fired for telling his players NOT to use the slur.
Thomas Davis, who was an assistant coach in New Mexico, said he warned the students about calling each other the racial epithet during and after a game in 2017. Davis noted that his players did not call opponents or African American players the N-word. Only each other. He said he confronted them several times about casually throwing around the offensive word.
But the head coach told Davis it wasn’t his job to discipline the students using the N-word, leading the two men to get into a “scuffle” and prompting the head coach to, of course, call the police.
This is America.