Broward News

Fort Lauderdale Cops Fired for Racist Texts and Video Meet with Chief, Want Jobs Back

The three Fort Lauderdale cops fired last month for their role in racist videos and text messages are trying to get their jobs back. Jason Holding, James Wells, and Christopher Sousa, met with Police Chief Frank Adderley Wednesday afternoon to discuss an appeal of their firings, reports the Sun-Sentinel.

They were found to have sent out messages about "killing niggers," and were named in a video of a mock movie trailer depicting Barack Obama as a thuggish villain. The cop who produced the video, Alex Alvarez, had resigned voluntarily last fall when an internal investigation into the video began. 

The three are beginning an appeals process that could end in a year-long arbitration, says union president Jack Lokeinsky of Lodge 31 of the Fraternal Order of Police. The officers are allowed to bring their own attorneys to the appeals meetings, or anyone else they feel could help make their argument to be reinstated. 

Earlier this month, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said that Alvarez, Holding, Wells and Sousa would not be losing their law enforcement certifications, meaning they could conceivably get jobs as cops elsewhere. 

The four cops became the focus of an internal investigation in October when Adderley received an email tipping him off he had racist police officers on the force. The tipster, Alvarez's former fiancée, sent Adderley screenshots of the racist text exchanges between the four officers, and gave testimony in a sworn statement that Alvarez had racist views towards black people. She also sent Adderley the video made by Alvarez that described President Obama with racial slurs, and featured images of black people getting attacked by dogs and white people with guns.

After news broke of the officer's firings, a report surfaced that revealed Alvarez once broke a suspect's arm while taking him into custody. Holding, meanwhile, had been the subject of 10 reviews since his hiring in January 2012, with half of them being an investigation for use of force. Last month, Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein told New Times that his office was investigating at least 180 cases that involved the four officers.

Adderley has 10 days to respond to the four officers' appeals for reinstatement. From there, the decision falls to City Manager Lee Feldman. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will review any documents received from Fort Lauderdale police, but if the cops' offenses are not covered by a list of "moral character violation," the officers will likely not face further punishment.