OK, this has been a crazy morning, but a breaking story has come up from the South Florida Times that will have to supercede Elvis in Margate for now.
Times reporter Elgin Jones obtained emails that came from the account of Wilton Manors Police Chief Richard Perez that are blatantly racist. From the article:
One e-mail that was forwarded to top brass on Friday, July 23, 2010, from Chief Richard E. Perez's account read:
"A little boy said to his mother, 'Mommy, how come I'm black and you're white.' His mother replied, 'Don't even go there, Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you're lucky you don't bark!'"
That e-mail is titled, "Mom's Memory" and it includes a photograph of a white woman walking near a pond with a young boy holding hands, under the caption, "A Mother's Love."
It is prefaced with, "Normally I don't send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read it. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine. This is so beautiful."
That's just one of the emails uncovered by the newspaper. What's ironic about all this is that Perez is a minority himself, the first Hispanic police chief in Wilton Manors and, before that, the first Hispanic captain at the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.
When he was hired, Perez was touted as a big minority hire by the city. In a Sun-Sentinel story on Perez last year, he talked about being discriminated against by people on the beat.
Read excerpts from that article and more incredible email stupidity inside after the jump.
Here's another Perez email, which was titled "Math Class":
"Dwayne pimps 3 ho's. If the price is $85 per trick, how many tricks per day must each ho turn to support Dwayne's $800 per day Crack habit?"
That's just one of nine questions. Sadly, the newspaper decided that a lot of the content of the emails it obtained wasn't suitable for publication.
"Many of the e-mails contain language that is too graphic for publication and are generally of an insulting nature," Jones writes. "One email sent from Perez's account called Arabs 'camel shaggers' and referred to connecting the wet testicles of 'rag heads' to a battery. Some included jokes involving the N-word, and expressions of support for political positions."
Yo, Elgin, send it this way and we'll give it the light of day.
Look, you see these types of emails being sent around by idiots all the time. But when they come from a police chief, it's pretty amazing to see. Jones also dug up one from then-Assistant Community Services Director Ann Barnes that went around City Hall. It was called, subtly enough, "Proud to Be White: Somebody Finally Said It."
Here's some of the text of the email:
"Everyone in the United States has privileges except the White race. They are the majority that made the U.S. what it is. Now look what it has become!
"You rob us, carjack us, and shoot at us. But, when a white police officer shoots a black gang member or beats up a black drug-dealer who is running from the LAW and posing a threat to ALL of society... You call him racist.
"... This email is not putting anyone down. It's a desperate attempt to keep what we have earned, not been given. I've passed this on, now please do your part."
Barnes is no longer working for the city and Perez? We'll see.
But the side of Perez revealed by the emails is a far cry from the public face he wore. Here's an excerpt from the Sentinel story on his hiring.
Citizens accustomed to a mostly white police force weren't always kind to police officers of color. Perez remembered a white citizen in a wide straw hat and cowboy boots driving his vehicle into the back of what he called a "car full of coloreds." He had been drinking and was giving a woman Fort lauderdale police officer difficulty when Perez arrived as back up.
The citizen groaned. "Doesn't Fort Lauderdale have any white officers?" Perez recalls him asking.
Perez never believed he would see an African-American elected president. But he's excited about what his election means for women, Hispanics and other minority groups.
"I think it's wide open now," Perez said. "Women, Hispanics, Asians and African-Americans if they can do the job, give them a shot."
Perez said he would advise President-elect Barack Obama to "be our president, and a black man second. He's my president, too."
Actually that stuff about being a "black man second" is a little dubious too.