Union officials plan to fight the 15-day suspension of a Seattle police officer who used a racial slur while chasing a black domestic violence suspect.
Officer Jennifer Hunt was suspended without pay after police cruiser video showed her use the slur and apparently threaten to shoot 32-year-old Kimo Warren during a Oct. 7, 2013, pursuit, reported KIRO-AM.
Hunt chased Warren from a house where he was accused of a domestic assault and can be heard on the video yelling, “You’re going to get your ass shot, boy.”
Supervisors watched video from the incident during a routine use-of-force review and turned the video over to internal affairs.
“I expressed deep concern about her word choice,” wrote Sgt. George Davisson in an internal memo. “I explained that regardless how she intended the comment to be taken or what she meant to say, this comment would undoubtedly be viewed in a negative context with police chasing a black male in the streets of Seattle.”
Union officials said the punishment was excessive because Hunt had expressed regret for her choice of words, and they pointed out that Warren had not complained.
Hunt and union representatives insisted the comment had nothing to do with Warren’s race.
“(She) is over 40 years old,” said Ron Smith, president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild. “I believe that she actually was trying to communicate with a fleeing suspect that she thought was much younger than her.”
However, Smith concedes the officer’s comment could possibly be perceived to be racist.
“I could see where they may perceive something other than what she intended,” the union leader said. “If somebody had been filming this, it could have been spun several different ways by whatever media outlet would want to do it.”
Watch video from the incident posted online by My Northwest: