The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio is currently in disarray after racist text messages exchanged between white police officers about their black co-workers and pedestrians were revealed to the public.
According to WHIO, two out of the five deputies have been identified as Capt. Thomas Flanders and Detective Michael Sollenberger. Two are court security deputies and the third is a sergeant in the Regional Dispatch Center.
The officers worked in Internal Affairs at the time of the exchanges, which occurred between November 2011 and January 2013. The police were made aware of the texts last week by the Ohio NAACP chapter. The messages were given as anonymous tips to NAACP President Derrick L. Foward in August.
Some of the jokes referred to African-Americans as “coons” and “niggers.”
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office continues their investigation today into allegations that employees exchanged text messages that contained racially insensitive jokes on their personal cell phones. Three others have not been identified by name. They have not been suspended.
Here are some of the so-called light-hearted jokes exchanged by Flanders and Sollenberger:
“What do apples and black people have in common? They both hang from trees.”
Another was a conversation during a patrol. It hasn’t been revealed which officer said what:
“By the way, the niggers are taking over [Bostons]” it read. “Who left them at their gate?” was the reply. “They’re four of them at the bar right now. Plus two of them just walked up the bar.” “I hope you’re packing.” the officer said. “No, I’m not I’ll stab a coon.”
Both identified officers have been placed on paid administrative leave. Foward has hundreds of texts that were shared between Flanders, Sollenberger, and the other officers. Some of the racist jokes were also geared towards black deputies.
“It is gut-wrenching to know that someone has that much hate in them, especially a (deputy) who is out enforcing the law every day,” Foward said. “We cannot tolerate anybody who harbors hate, and they are supposed to be out here protecting us.”
Sheriff Phil Plummer spoke out against the texts, stating that racism would not be tolerated in the force and the officers’ actions have inaccurately represented the officers of Montgomery County.
“They were in two important positions here,” Plummer said of Flanders and Sollenberger. “I needed to take them out of the mix while we conduct an internal investigation. The N-word was used several times as well as other racial slurs and jokes. Racism will not be tolerated in this office.”
Flanders and Sollenberger have yet to apologize for their actions. Foward believes their personal racist exchanges might have affected their work in the office, as well as on the streets.
SOURCE: WHIO | PHOTO CREDIT: Handout