Tampa, FL – A Tampa school resource officer (SRO) who was fired after bodycam footage caught him using a racial slur is now fighting to get his job back.
Tampa Police Department (TPD) Officer Delvin White, who is black, was fired this week for referring to a group of people as “ghetto [n-word]” during a telephone call on Nov. 13, 2020, WFLA reported.
While under investigation for that incident, which was captured by his bodycam, Officer White confessed that he also previously used the “n-word” twice during an arrest on Nov. 30, 2020.
The eight-year department veteran was most recently assigned as a Middleton High School SRO.
The TPD’s investigation into Officer White was launched late last year after a random audit of bodycam footage, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
During the investigation, Officer White told his supervisor that he never intended for his words to be derogatory, according to the paper.
He said he used the racial slur because it is “commonly used in today’s society as a means of shared culture and experiences among the African American community,” the Tampa Bay Times reported.
The veteran officer was ultimately fired for violating TPD’s “discriminatory conduct” policy, WFLA reported.
“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 to WFLA. “Tampa Police officers are held to a higher standard and incidents like this negatively impact the entire law enforcement profession.”
The Tampa Police Benevolent Association (PBA) said it stands in solidarity with TPD and the City of Tampa with regards to ending racism, but argued firing Officer White went overboard.
“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 PBA said in a statement to WFLA. “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.”
“Officer White is a beloved and trusted member of the East Tampa community that he was raised in and that he protected every day,” the statement continued. “Despite his misstep, throughout the investigation, private citizens and other individuals associated with his school contacted the Chief of Police lending their support and reflecting their admiration for his character and contributions.”
The PBA said it is filing a formal grievance on the now-former officer’s behalf, which it hopes and expects will result in “getting the valued Officer back to work,” WFLA reported.