Fort Pierce Officer Suspended; Black Colleague Didn’t Find Comment Offensive

Will Greenlee, TCPalm.com (Fort Pierce, Florida), August 27, 2008

A white police lieutenant received a three-day unpaid suspension for comments in a conversation with a black detective that “deeply offended” the white police chief, but did not offend the detective, according to records released Wednesday.

Lt. Katherine England, who is white, received the suspension following the July 3 interaction involving Detective Jesse Streeter, a longtime friend of hers, and Officer Christine Davis, who at the time was with her new K-9 dog partner, Boss.

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“They then told him that the dog had not been trained yet,” a report states in summary of Streeter’s comments. “Lieutenant England then told him that the dog would not bite him and that she would prove it to him. At this point she told the dog to, ‘bite the black man, bite the black man.’”

Streeter saw Chief Sean Baldwin walk by as England said, “Bite the black man, bite the black man.” Baldwin, who is white, reported being “deeply offended” and directed an internal investigation into the matter.

Streeter said he, Davis and England all laughed as the comment was made. England hugged him and said, “You know that I love you,” and Streeter said he did.

{snip}

Baldwin wrote the investigation indicates Streeter wasn’t offended and found no evidence of “malicious discriminatory intent,” but that it was “in contempt of our policies, which are intended to promote a value for diversity within our organization and support positive relationships within the community we serve.”

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