A now-former police chief in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was fired after just six months on the job because he pledged to diversify the police department and because he apparently forgot that when white people even hear the word “diversity,” they tend to blow a gasket because they always assume white-dominated spaces are white-dominated spaces because of merit, not because America has always viewed whiteness as more employable.
According to Local 10 News, now-former Chief Larry Scirotto was under investigation after at least four department employees complained that he committed Equal Employment Opportunity violations related to promotions.
“The chief on more than one occasion, to different groups of people, pointed to the wall in the Chief’s conference room and stated, ‘That wall is too white’ and ‘I’m gonna change that,’” a complaint filing claimed. “The wall displays pictures of FLPD Command Staff.”
“We need to make those promotions based upon merit and the findings were that those selections were not necessarily based upon experience or other things that were allowed to be used as qualifiers,” City Manager Chris Lagerbloom said in a statement that, again, assumes meritocracy is the reason for overwhelming whiteness. “Diversity in any department is a plus and we strive to be diverse, we strive to represent the community that we serve, there’s just certain lawful ways to allow that diversity to happen and in this case, the investigative report found that we didn’t quite follow the law in how we were working toward those diversity goals.”
According to WSVN 7, Scirotto defended his reasoning saying, “Those minority groups are now being treated as if they were less than deserving, and that’s not the case, and it never was.”
“The promotions that I made are of the minority candidates, were because they were exceptional candidates, and they excelled in every level of the organization,” he continued. “They deserved to be promoted, and by the way, they happened to be minority. It wasn’t because they were minority.”
He also indicated that his comments about the wall of white people being “too white” were overly simplified by those who complained.
“The bottom row—it was consisting of a majority of white men and a white woman, and the statement was, ‘How do I convince our community that we are a diverse community when this is what they will see, and we speak about diversity and inclusion?’” Scirotto said.
Scirotto also denied an accusation that while choosing a captain, he said, “This is between Cecil and Eddie—Which one is blacker?”
Now, in the interest of fairness, it’s worth mentioning that Scirotto wasn’t just fired for maintaining that overwhelmingly white upper management spaces are how they are due to racism, not merit. He was also accused of working as a college basketball referee while being on the clock as chief and getting paid for both simultaneously.
“The Chief was paid by the City for these unauthorized schedule adjustments, totaling an estimated 55.50 hours,” an unnamed city auditor said. Of course, it should also be noted that the auditor was fired for investigating the matter without the city’s permission.