Emails were sensitivity training course materials, chief argued

A south Florida police chief who found himself under fire for sending numerous racist and otherwise offensive emails -- including one lamenting that President Obama wasn't shot by his security detail -- has been forced to resign.

But it wasn't Police Chief Richard Perez's abusive emails that cost him his job. According to news reports this week, Perez was given an ultimatum -- resign or be fired -- after an internal investigation at the Wilton Manors, Florida, police department found Perez had been paid for time off he hadn't reported.

Last month, an investigation by the South Florida Times found that racist emails, including some targeting President Obama, were "circulated regularly" in the police department that serves the small city near Fort Lauderdale.

Many of the e-mails contain language that is too graphic for publication and are generally of an insulting nature. One email sent from Perez’s account called Arabs “camel shaggers” and referred to connecting the wet testicles of “rag heads” to a battery. Some included jokes involving the N-word, and expressions of support for political positions.

One e-mail that was forwarded to top brass on Friday, July 23, 2010, from Chief Richard E. Perez’s account read:

“A little boy said to his mother, ‘Mommy, how come I'm black and you're white.’ His mother replied, ‘Don't even go there, Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you're lucky you don't bark!’”

Another e-mail distributed from Perez’s account is titled, “Math Class,” in the form of math questions intended to belittle math courses being taught in inner city schools.

“Dwayne pimps 3 ho's. If the price is $85 per trick, how many tricks per day must each ho turn to support Dwayne's $800 per day Crack habit?” reads that e-mail. It includes nine other questions depicting similarly derogatory situations.

The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that "Obama was a frequent target of the jokes and insults traded among Perez and his subordinates."

One E-mail to Perez from Sgt. Peter Bigelsen read, “I sat, as did millions of other Americans, and watched as the government under went a peaceful transition of power a year ago. At first, I felt a swell of pride and patriotism while Barack Obama took his oath of office. However, all that pride quickly vanished as I later watched 21 Marines, in full dress uniform with rifles, fire a 21-gun salute to the President. It was then that I realized how far America’s military had deteriorated. Every damn one of them missed the bastard.”

Perez was given a 30-day suspension when news of the emails became public. He was still on suspension when he was asked to resign.


Attempting to explain the emails, Perez told reporters that they were classroom materials meant for sensitivity training courses he taught at a police academy.

He told NBC in Miami that the materials were meant to show racial slurs “can be an officer safety issue, people that are called names, the names they're gonna get called out on the street. So that's in a classroom setting and I download many of these."

But that explanation didn't sit well with the dean of the Broward College Public Safety Institute, where Perez taught. Linda Wood told NBC that she had never approved offensive material of that nature.

"I had no knowledge of offensive material being taught here at Broward College," she said. "But I can tell you that all of our curriculum is used from the FDLE-approved and Criminal Justice Standards and Training Certified curriculum."

The following video is from WTVJ NBC in Miami, and was uploaded to the Reid Report.

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