Broward News

Extra! Larry Deetjen's Racist Airport Blowup


Occasionally the Pulp busts some news. This is one of those times. I just received a copy of police reports concerning an argument at the Palm Beach County Airport last month. It involved Deerfield Beach City Manager Larry Deetjen and a black Palm Beach Sheriff's Office parking cop.

It, uh, doesn't reflect very well on Deetjen.

According to the PBSO records, Deetjen took his wheelchair-bound mother-in-law to the airport on March 18 for a flight to Massachusetts. He stopped his city-issued black Crown Vic on the curbside by the terminal and helped his mother-in-law inside. A PBSO "parking enforcement specialist" (or PES) named Jose Cruz told him he was in violation but allowed Deetjen's wife, Lynn, to take his mother-in-law inside the terminal. "I advised [Deetjen] that he could not leave the vehicle parked at the curb," Cruz wrote of Deetjen. "... I assumed that he was intending to leave the terminal."

According to police, he didn't. That's when PES Ed Kirby, who is black, told Deetjen he would have to move. According to both Cruz and Kirby, the city manager became agitated and said he wasn't moving.

Kirby began writing him a ticket, infuriating Deetjen, who got out of the car and into Kirby's face.

"The driver was was standing in Kirby's face, pointing and stating loudly, 'This is why your people stay where you are and never go beyond where you are!'" Cruz wrote.

According to a later report done by Captain A.S. Burke, Kirby reported that Deetjen also said, "Your people can never get better jobs because of the way you act ... if you worked for me, I would have you fired in a New York minute. This is exactly why your people never get ahead."

When Kirby gave him the $10 ticket, Deetjen yelled "Fuck you!" at him, according to Burke's report.

Cruz, Kirby, and higher-ranking PBSO officers all believed that Deetjen's comments were racist. A few days later, Kirby filed a complaint at the city against Deetjen and Mayor Al Capellini requested that BSO investigate. In a written memo, Deetjen denied making racist statements and claimed that Kirby had threatened to "put a boot up my ass."

BSO, however, didn't buy it. On May 1, Lt. Col. Danny Wright concluded that what Deetjen had done showed "cleared bias and reflects negatively on Mr. Deetjen as a person."

You'll hear more about this, I'm sure.

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Bob Norman
Contact: Bob Norman