While the majority of our nation’s police force is made up of good people, there are a few bad apples that make everyone look bad. Thankfully, earlier this week, one of these cops resigned.
An officer from the St. Petersburg Police Department resigned from his position on Tuesday after he was caught on a cellphone camera uttering a racial slur at a citizen on Monday evening.
“I was wrong.”
According to The Hill, Probationary Officer Michael Naples had responded to a dispute between a pizza delivery driver and a man named Levonte Daniels.
That incident involved allegations that the delivery driver had thrown change in Daniels’ face. Daniels also allegedly hit the delivery car with a fire extinguisher, but both parties denied this.
Naples decided to not make any arrests and instead referred Daniels to a pre-trial diversionary program with a criminal mischief misdemeanor charge, while the driver was allowed to leave without receiving any charges or referrals.
That of course sparked an argument between Daniels and Naples — which Daniels recorded on his cellphone — in which Naples was caught on camera calling Daniels the “N”-word.
“The officer admitted that while he was on the scene he did use a racial slur,” St. Petersburg Police Chief Tony Holloway said during a Tuesday media briefing.
“He just said, ‘I was wrong. I got caught up in the moment.’ He said, ‘I shouldn’t have said that,’” the chief added as explanation of Naples’ apology.
“I’m still hurt.”
Naples had only been on the job for 11 months and was still within a probationary period, meaning he could have been fired for virtually any reason at the chief’s discretion. Indeed, the chief made clear that Naples would have been fired for uttering the racial slur if he hadn’t first chosen to resign.
As for Daniels, he told the Tampa Bay Times, “I’m still hurt. He might have quit, but I still have a 5-year-old daughter who I have to explain this to. [Naples] just made me feel like the scum of the earth.”
He added that the “situation has everything to do with another black man being railroaded into a system by being forced to take charges or go to jail,” in reference to receiving a referral to the diversionary program — which requires a guilty plea to avoid jail time — while the driver escaped all charges.
This young officer shot off his mouth and said something he shouldn’t have said and is now paying the price for his actions. Hopefully this incident ends here with his resignation, and doesn’t turn into more hurt for the St. Petersburg community and police department.