Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Larry Scirotto has been fired for prioritizing minority candidates during the hiring process, reported CNN. Scirotto had been accused of overlooking white candidates, but he claimed his intentions were to create a department that was a reflection of the diverse community he served. With that, he had no regrets.
According to CNN’s report, the city hired a law firm to investigate his practices. They found Scirotto had hired 15 people between August and November with six being of ethnic or gender minorities who were selected for promotions. Scirotto was also reported to have said the wall with photos of department staff was “too white” and had plans to change that.
“None of them were promoted because they were in a protected class,” he said. “They were promoted because they were the best candidates.”
Scirotto said he has obtained legal counsel and is planning on filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against the city.
“If promoting diversity is the hill I’m going to die on, I will sleep well tonight,” he said. “I won’t allow them to tarnish my reputation. I won’t allow them to tarnish the work that I’ve done in the 24 years I’ve been in this profession.”
In the report, Scirotto was recalled narrowing down two candidates of color by deciding which one was “blacker,” reported CNN. He denied this allegation but stood strong in his intentions of diversifying the “white wall.” Scirotto said, according to the report, that he wanted to convince the community that the department was a diverse organization. The witnesses in the investigation weren’t too supportive of his methods.
According to the report, 21 witnesses said they were aware of his intention of promoting people based on race or gender and disapproved of it. Some believed the change was necessary, however, basing promotions on a person’s race or gender would have “hurt or undermined” those people instead of helping them.
Scirotto was released from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department March 3 and the police department is in the selection process for a new chief, reported CNN.