|Vittorio Hernandez |||Mar 23, 2015 12:04 AM EDT|
(Photo : Reuters) Fort Lauderdale police shield the crime scene as workers from the Broward County coroner's office remove the body of a 27-year-old special education teacher involved in a murder-suicide at Stranahan Highschool in Fort Lauderdale, May 29.
Although exchanging racist text messages is not criminal behavior, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department nevertheless dismissed three cops in South Florida because their conduct was inexcusable and the department has zero tolerance for such kinds of behavior.
Four cops were actually involved, but the fourth one, Alex Alvarez, resigned. Alvarez was the one who made a fake movie trailer titled "The Hoods," which had offensive language and images, including that of U.S. President Barack Obama, the Ku Klux Klan and African-American, reports CNN.
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The image of Obama showed him with large gold teeth, reports Miami Herald.
The five-month investigation resulted in the firing of Jason Holding, James Wells and Christopher Sousa.
The four often encountered African-Americans in the course of their duty. They used racially derogatory words to refer to these people. Once, they texted about racially insensitive materials from the movie "Django Unchained." They also planned to get drunk and then kill "n******."
Co-workers did not escape their notice, whose grammar, looks and work ethics they made crude comments. Once, they called an entire shift "lazy f****."
The messages could have gone unnoticed were it not for the ex-fiancee of Alvarez who found it after agreeing to check each other's mobile phone's messages. She only told the four that their behavior was wrong but feared that Alvarez would hurt her if she told other people about it.
However, after their 10-month relationship ended, she went to authorities and shared what she knew.
"We can't have people like this protecting us," she told CBS 4's Carey Codd.
However, the Fort Lauderdale Fraternal Order of Police said the three deserve due process. Jack Lokeinsky, president of the group, said that while they do not tolerate racism, officers take pride in the commitment to diversity and positive relationship with residents in communities where they serve.
Mayor Jack Seiler took the side of the police department and said he was very disappointed, disgusted and shocked by the incident.
Because of the incident, the police department required all cops to attend a diversity class, while it is part of the screening process for new hires.
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