A Colorado police officer fired for using a racial slur to describe black citizens who were concerned over a police shooting has been re-hired by the same city. But instead of disparaging the decision, let’s dissect this case as an example of how white supremacy works.
On June 18, 2017, after a high-speed chase, police fired at least 30 rounds at a suspect on a busy Aurora, Colo., street. As people gathered around, Aurora Police Lt. Charles DeShazer walked out of earshot of the mostly African American crowd assembling at the scene and informed his colleagues: “We got the Alabama porch monkeys all contained.”
The officer to whom DeShazer made the comments immediately turned off his body camera microphone, but that was probably just to preserve the battery power. People tell me that cops aren’t racist, they just want power, so I assume that’s what they mean.
While it is police policy not to discuss personnel issues, Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz skirted the policy days later. Metz gave an interview saying: “I reviewed the video, to say I was shocked was an understatement.”
Metz took DeShazer off the streets and fired him soon after, explaining: “I felt the termination was the correct course of action. I felt that it would send a strong message internally and externally about what our expectations are in this agency and we have set a high bar,” ABC 7 reports.
But DeShazer appealed his dismissal from the force to the city’s Civil Service Commission. The commision said the comments were “highly offensive and inflammatory,” but that DeShazer being fired as punishment for his actions was excessive. The commission voted 3-1 to reinstate DeShazer.
Just in case you glazed over his title, Metz is the police chief in Aurora, Colorado. Chief. Head. Highest Authority...
Unless you count whiteness.
When Metz said he was “shocked,” to hear Officer DeKlansman’s racist remark, it appears that he wasn’t just giving lip service. It seems like Metz genuinely didn’t want an outright bigot on his police force. When he learned that Deshazer had been rehired, he said he felt a “combination of anger, appalled and probably the biggest one is hurt.”
Metz, unaware that whiteness is the Big Joker in America’s deck of race cards, criticized the commission’s decision in a statement. He noted that DeShazer will not receive back pay, will be demoted from Lieutenant to Sergeant and will have to retrain at the police academy. He also ensured the public that he will do everything in his power to prevent DeRacist from interacting with the public, saying:
The Department is in the process of returning Sgt. DeShazer back to work. He will first be assigned to the APD Academy to ensure he is in compliance with all POST certification requirements. His final assignment has yet to be determined. It is within my authority to set his assignment. I can assure the community that Sgt. DeShazer will not be in a supervisory or citizen-facing role.
Now, it’s not right to speculate on why Aurora’s Civil Service Commission voted to re-hire Deshazer. Perhaps it has nothing to do with white supremacy or racism.
The only evidence we have is that one member, Deb Wallace, recused herself from the vote. But, using only a picture of the Civil Service Commission, let’s see if we can guess why they voted to hand a gun to a virulent racist, empower him with the authority of the state and allow him to enforce the law:
And that’s how white supremacy works. It is forever the chief. If a police officer cannot be fired after he demonstrates his prejudice against the people who pay his salary, then he cannot be fired for anything. Whiteness is forever the chief.
In every discussion about disproportionate police shootings, the narrative always lands on ways to eliminate implicit bias. But what if the bias is explicit? This is why people die. To give DeShazer a badge and gun after acknowledging his racism is a clear indication that the city of Aurora doesn’t give a fuck about a black life.
What are the people in Aurora’s black community supposed to do knowing that a racist police officer is patrolling their streets? Why would someone not run away from a cop like Stephon Clark or Antwon Rose, Jr. did? Who wouldn’t walk away like Terence Crutcher?
Who wouldn’t resist a racist?
I mean ... besides the Civil Service Commission of Aurora, Colo., of course.