More than 30 activists attended a City Commission meeting Tuesday evening to discuss the reinstatement of Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Jeffery Feldewert, who was fired in June over racist Facebook comments and then brought back on the force last month. Six activists took to the podium to explain that officers like Feldewert cannot fairly serve the black community. All the commissioners listened and were receptive to the activists’ comments, and by the end, they got what they came for: a one-on-one meeting with Commissioner Dean Trantalis.
“It went really well,”
In June, Feldewert was fired over a handful of racist posts and comments on his Facebook. He posted a photo of a black man being arrested by white officers and wrote “Typical Hoodrat Behavior.” The caption read: “BLACK PEOPLE. Because without them the evening news wouldn’t be as much fun to watch.”
A profile photo showed a skull wrapped in an American flag with a Fort Lauderdale Police badge on the forehead. “Savage Hunter” was displayed beneath it. Police Chief Frank Adderley said the posts showed a lack of judgment and handed the veteran 45-year-old officer a dismissal letter.
Feldewert was the fifth Fort Lauderdale Police officer to be fired or resign this year over racist comments. In March, four officers were taken off the force after exchanging racist text messages and a video with racially charged slurs and images. Like Feldewert, they also called themselves “savage hunters.”
Adderley called the conduct “inexcusable” and said there is zero tolerance for it at Fort Lauderdale Police. Fort Lauderdale Fraternal Order of Police President Sgt. Jack Lokeinsky said his organization prides itself on its diversity and does not tolerate racism of any kind.
“I am very disappointed, disgusted, and shocked by this incident," Mayor Jack Seiler said at a news conference at the time. "The inappropriate racist behavior exhibited by those involved is unacceptable and reprehensible, it violates the trust we place in our law enforcement officers, it damages the bond we have established in our
But then in August, Feldewert was reinstated, landing only a ten-day unpaid suspension and receiving back pay for the time he was out. The news was hard to hear for Rogers and other Black Lives Matter activists.
“It’s disappointing that another officer showing blatant racist behavior was allowed to get away with a slap on the wrist,” Roger said. “It’s upsetting as a black woman within this community. It’s terrible.”
At the meeting, activists demanded Feldewert’s gun and badge but also stressed that there need to be ways to prevent such systemic racism within the police department.
“At the end of the day, even if he is fired, there’s still the issue there,” Didier Ortiz,
Commissioner Trantalis agreed to meet with the activists to explore the issue more. All the activists considered the meeting a success. They’re currently scheduling an appointment with Trantalis at City Hall.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.