Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Wichita NAACP Calls on the Wichita Police Department and Chief Williams to terminate officers overheard making Racist and Bigoted comments

The following is a copy of a Press release issued this morning to 93 local reporters, the Chief of Police, the Mayor, and the entire Wichita City Council
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Contact: Kevin Myles; Wichita NAACP President
Email:
Kevin@wichitanaacp.org
phone: (316) 655-9282

Date: 06/21/08


The Wichita NAACP Calls on the Wichita Police Department and Chief Norman Williams to terminate officers overheard making Racist and Bigoted comments


As recently reported, the Wichita Police department has suspended three officers for making a series of Racist and Reprehensible comments which were overheard and reported by a neighbor. These types of comments undermine the public trust and are indicative of an underlying hostility towards one of the very communities the Officers are sworn to serve and protect. Expressions of Hatred and Bigotry should not be tolerated within the ranks of our Public Safety officials.

We understand and appreciate that Professional Standards is now conducting an investigation into the matter; which we will closely monitor. However, we wish to go on record stating that if the Wichita Police Department and Chief Norman Williams attempt to 'sweep this under the rug' by quietly returning the officers to duty, it would send a strong signal that such behavior is condoned by the leadership of WPD.

The Wichita Police Department should have a zero tolerance policy for racism and misogyny and it is our hope that the leadership in the Police Department will resolve this matter accordingly. We are therefore calling upon the Wichita Police Department and Chief Norman Williams to act in the Public's interest by terminating the officers upon the conclusion of the investigation.

6 Click HERE to POST or READ the latest comments!!!:

KMyles June 21, 2008 at 10:30 AM  

Greetings all,

The Wichita Branch issued our Press Release this morning calling upon the WPD to terminate three Officers who were overheard making some really ugly and reprehensible Racist comments. The Police have issued their boilerplate statement, that they're conducting an investigation and will not comment further until it's complete. But we know from past experience that that's usually a smokescreen behind which they quietly allow the offending officers to resume their duties.

So this time we are explicitly calling upon the Department to "do the right thing". If you are in agreement with our call, please send an email to the Chief and City Council and tell them so...

Chief Norman Williams: nwilliams@wichita.gov
Mayor Carl Brewer: cbrewer@wichita.gov
Jim Skelton: jskelton@wichita.gov
Sue Schlapp: sschlapp@wichita.gov
Paul Gray: pgray@wichita.gov
Sharon Fearey: Sfearey@wichita.gov
Lavonta Williams: lkwilliams@wichita.gov
Jeff Longwell: jlongwell@wichita.gov

Anonymous,  June 22, 2008 at 3:13 PM  

Hi all: suggest not overreacting on this too fast. Let the WPD complete their investigation first then we can come up with a logically thought out plan. Let’s get more information before we start calling for Chief Williams to do this and that. When we overreact without all the facts, we get a bad name. Let’s be sensible and reasonable about this. Keep in mind that when we call for officers to be terminated, it behooves us to make sure we have the facts first. It's serious business to call for a termination. There are always three sides to a story, and not everything we hear is always factual. If it does turn out that the officers actually used inapproprate language regarding a person or group, then we can demand action based on a well thought out plan.

KMyles June 22, 2008 at 5:26 PM  

You raise a good point anonymous... And it is highly unusual that we would take such an aggressive position as to call for the terminations prior to the completion of the investigation. However, this case is pretty open and shut. The actual comments have not been released to the public but they were all recorded in writing by the individual who initially made the complaint.

We know precisely what was said and by whom. Further, there is still more to this story. Out of respect for the Chief and department, we have not gone public with everything we've learned, but given the details of the bombshell yet to drop, there really is no other reasonable outcome.

Then we had to balance the real need for patience and temperance against the plausible scenrio wherein the Chief and department could issue a far lesser punishment upon concluding the investigation; at which time it would be proactically too late to ask for any additional and more stringent sanction....

KM

Anonymous,  June 22, 2008 at 5:59 PM  

My question is this, the department says that they try and have a department that is reflective of the community. Why is it that the so called professional standards unit has never had a person of color or a woman ever permanently assigned to this section. Also why is it that some of the people involved have worked in professional standards investigating racial profiling complaints. granted they can have 1st ammendment rights and they can say they hate the people of color and females on the department but if they feel like that about department members then what of the regular citizens. I dont expect the department to do anything and look for these officers to go back to duty and probably be promoted. The community has voiced concerns for some time about problems with the department I dont expect that they will ever listen. Also they will never actually release what was said by these officers. wait until it is found out the positions the offending officers have held on the deparment

Anonymous,  June 29, 2008 at 9:24 PM  

Kevin,
I understand your frustrations and concerns in regards to the WPD. I think that Wichita, in general, has a lot of work to do as far as diversity. This includes minorities, who call each other derogatory names and put each other down. It isn't appropriate for anyone of any race to use language that is offensive to another. Maybe this is the time to look at African Americans and educate the youth of color about calling each other names, listening to music that has offensive langauage, etc. I am a caucasian citizen, and I believe that everyone should be treated equally.. no matter the race. I get offended when I hear a black youth call another black youth the "N" word.... just a thought.

Kim Thomas,  July 3, 2008 at 8:56 AM  

As a caucasian wife of an african american man that was employed with the WPD for nearly 15 years, I am absolutely astounded at the racism that was displayed to my husband and some of his african american coworkers. I have witnessed the racism and been on the receiving end of some of the most unprofessional and demeaning "work ethics" displayed by some caucasian police officers on the Wichita Police Department. I have heard the remarks that were made during the "party" in question and am quite embarrassed that this kind of behavior still occurs. In my opinion, until you have walked in the shoes of someone who has experienced this type of racism, don't discount the severity of it.
K. Thomas

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