African-American police officers in Denver are coming to the aid of a white colleague who replied to an irate citizen who called him a "n*gger" by saying "I'm not a n*gger" as a "zombie crawl" spiraled out of control last October, CBS4 Denver reports.
The incident occurred during a "zombie crawl" that turned violent. Officer Adam Paulsen was called in to assist after a fight broke out. Police pepper-sprayed the combatants, and Officer Paulsen was trying to help calm the crowd caught in the cloud.
A young black man attempted to navigate the area the police were trying to clear, and when Paulsen told him he would have to go around, the man said, "N*gger, I'm trying to get through."
"I am not a n*gger," Paulsen calmly replied, "walk around to your family."
"I’m trying to get through, homie," the man said.
"I'm not you're 'homie' either, just walk around," Paulsen replied.
The man involved in the incident did not file a complaint, but when Paulsen's superiors saw the video -- which was recorded by Paulsen's own body-mounted camera -- he received a written reprimand.
"While Officer Paulsen did not call anyone the ‘N’ word, the use of the word could have caused a bad situation to become worse. The ‘N’ word is highly offensive to the majority of people," the reprimand obtained by CBS4 read. "There is a preponderance of the evidence indicating Officer Paulsen was discourteous in his statements; therefore a violation...is sustained."
However, Detective Victoria Oliver, an African American Denver Police Department officer, said "this is political correctness gone awry."
"I see nothing wrong with it,” she continued. “He was responding to a statement that was made to him. As an African American female I have no issue or problem in the context he used it in. This has nothing to do with racism -- he responded to a word."
"He didn’t do anything inappropriate."
Watch a report on the incident via CBS4 Denver below.