Mar 24, 2021 - News

Black Tampa officer protests termination for using racial slur

Former Tampa police officer Delvin White stands in uniform in front of an American flag.

Former Tampa police officer Delvin White. Courtesy of Delvin White/

A Black Tampa police officer who was fired earlier this month for using the N-word is calling his punishment "excessive" and fighting his termination with the help of his union.

The question driving the debate: Should a Black cop be fired for using the N-word?

  • The inflammatory word used against African Americans is sometimes also used by African Americans in popular culture and as an effort to reclaim it, though some object to that use, too.

Police Chief Brian Dugan contends he had to be consistent under the city’s policy forbidding discriminatory language, per the Tampa Bay Times.

  • But former officer Delvin White’s supporters — including students at Middleton High, where he was a school resource officer — are calling for the chief to reinstate White. An online petition created by a Middleton student has garnered nearly 1,300 signatures.

What they're saying: "Black folks are looking at this like, white police officers have done us wrong, shot us dead in the street, they have mistreated us and still have their job, so why would you want to fire this man for saying a word?" said Hillsborough NAACP President Yvette Lewis.

This story first appeared in the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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