One of the four Fort Lauderdale, Fla., cops who were terminated as a result of a racist-text-message scandal brought his black girlfriend to court for an arbitration hearing as proof that he was not racist, CBS Miami reports.
Former Police Officer Jason Holding is fighting to get his job back, and his girlfriend, Perpetua Michel, took the stand, insisting that Holding is a good person.
“There are people that make mistakes. There are people that say things that they didn’t mean,” said Michel, who said she has known Holding for about four years. According to CBS, the pair became a couple about a year ago, after the allegations about Holding came to light.
“He’s a cop; he shouldn’t have said that word, correct,” Michel added, referencing Holding’s use of the n-word. However, she also said that she didn’t believe Holding used the slur in a hateful way, CBS notes.
Holding, the news station reports, became emotional while he apologized for the texts.
“I am not a racist, I have never been a fascist, I’ll never be a racist,” Holding said, adding that he had become “numb” to the use of racial slurs because he heard them constantly from the black community, black officers and white officers.
“That is not who I am,” he said.
Holding, along with fellow Officers Chris Sousa and James Wells, was fired in the fallout from the incident. Alex Alvarez, the fourth officer involved, resigned.
The officers allegedly made a “racially biased” video that appeared to show a Ku Klux Klan hood and made fun of President Barack Obama with large gold teeth, Police Chief Frank Adderley said.
“This is pure hatred and racism. It is obviously morally repugnant, and we cannot have this in our community,” the president of the Broward, Fla., NAACP, Marsha Ellison, said.
Read more at CBS Miami.