Racist Comments, Slurs Impair Virtual Legislative Hearing

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Racist comments and slurs interfered with a virtual legislative public hearing on reforming the Delaware Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights.

According to State Senator Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, D-Wilmington, someone twice messaged her and other panelists with racist slurs and was thrown out of the virtual meeting. Two others also used racist slurs during public comment.

“I am deeply dismayed, but not at all surprised, by this latest reminder that we live in a state and a nation where racist agitators will attack people of color working to make a change in their communities,” Lockman said. “Over the last two months, a diverse group of justice advocates, law enforcement officers and everyday Delawareans from across our state have dedicated their time and energy to build a better Delaware for all. We have disagreed and debated, but we have remained respectful. This act of hatred will not stand in the way of our progress, and I look forward to continuing our discussion on accountability and transparency heading into the legislative session resumes in January.” 

Delaware FOP President Jamie Leonard and Delaware Police Chiefs Council Chairman Patrick Ogden also condemned the actions in a joint statement.

“These types of disgusting, bigoted words are callous, mean-spirited and offensive. We can assure you that the words spoken today do not reflect the beliefs or ideals of the Delaware law enforcement community. We stand together to condemn both the coward who made these comments and the mindset in which he represents. We maintain our commitment to increasing the trust between the citizens of Delaware, the communities in which we serve, and Delaware’s law enforcement. The comments today will not derail our discussions to achieve this goal,” Leonard and Ogden said.

According to Lockman, Senate Bill 149 would provide more transparency by allowing the public to review disciplinary records including any complaints, allegations or charges filed against police officers, transcripts of disciplinary trials or hearings and the factual findings and final disposition of the case. Community review boards could also be established to hear and decide law-enforcement disciplinary matters in place of the Delaware Criminal Justice Council or a tribunal made up of fellow police officers.

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