Black School Resource Officer Rehired After Being Fired For Calling Student A 'N***a'
The officer was initially fired in March for using the word on two occasions.
August 24, 2021 at 9:57 pm
Delvin White, an officer with the Tampa Police Department (TPD), was rehired after the city's Civil Service Board voted 3-0 on Monday, ruling that firing the school resource officer for saying n***a on two occasions was too harsh a consequence.
“I do not want to see the city lose an employee like that who obviously does his job above and beyond — a difficult job in, let’s face it, very difficult circumstances,” board member Charlotte Hursey said, New York Post reported. “It’s like cutting off your nose to spite your face.”
White, an 8-year veteran of TPD was initially terminated back in March by Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan when his body camera caught him saying n***a while he was driving home from an off-duty assignment, and again when he was on the phone with his wife. He also was accused of using the word while arresting a Black student at Middleton High School where he served as the school resource officer, as Blavity previously reported.
The officer said that he did not intend for the word to be derogatory, but tried to assure the department that he was trying to connect with the student since it is “commonly used in today’s society as a means of shared culture and experiences among the African American community,” police said.
Despite White’s rationale, Dugan said at the time of his initial firing that such words can “jeopardize the trust that our department works to establish with our community.”
“This isn’t about racism, this is about professionalism,” Dugan said at Monday’s hearing. “Officer White isn’t playing golf with his frat brothers, he’s not playing poker, he’s wearing the uniform of a Tampa Police Department officer and speaking to a student that way.”
Dugan also added that the city’s personnel manual bans the use of racial slurs, which if used, would be grounds for termination.
When White was dismissed from the police department, he still had a community of fellow officers and students rallying for his return to the force.
“Despite his misstep, throughout the investigation, private citizens and other individuals associated with his school contacted the Chief of Police lending their support and reflecting their admiration for his character and contributions,” the Tampa Police Benevolent Association said in a Facebook post.
White’s attorney also argued that he had become a positive influence on the children at Middleton High School, where he mentored students and implemented programs to make the school safer and the campus environment cleaner. His attorney also noted that aside from saying n***a, White had a lack of serious infractions and an excellent job performance record.