News & Features » News

Slur prompts investigation

by

comment

Orlando police are conducting an internal investigation into claims by a police officer that he received a racist message over his personal pager several weeks ago, and that the message could have come from other Orlando officers.

The allegation surfaced June 2 in a meeting among some of Orlando's highest officials, including Mayor Buddy Dyer, commissioners Ernest Page and Daisy Lynum, police chief Michael McCoy and OPD internal-affairs chief Alfred Williams.

According to Page, Orlando's senior black commissioner, the officer, who is black, received a message saying the sender would "not back you up, nigger." It was unclear what the message meant, or the motivation behind it.

Page, who coordinated last week's meeting, called the claim "sufficiently egregious" to launch a full investigation. "Some police officers are very upset about this," Page said. "This could cause a morale problem."

McCoy, who became chief less than a year ago, said the officer who received the message previously complained about a hostile work environment. That allegation prompted his supervisor to start an investigation, which was winding its way through city hall (including the Human Resources Office) when the page in question surfaced.

"There are two different issues here," said McCoy, who called the police officer's short work history with the city "spotted."

Page, however, was concerned that police administrators were obfuscating the issue. The hostile work environment allegation "is not really why we are here," he said at the meeting.

McCoy stressed that he wanted to be more forthcoming about the claims, but said state law prevents him from providing too many details (such as the officer's name) until the investigation is closed. Any officer using racial slurs would suffer "the most severe of consequences," he said. "You can read between the lines what that means."

A police spokesman said the results of the investigation will be made public in a few weeks.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.