Police Officer Fired for Racial Slurs After Calling Coworker 'Dumb and Black'

A police officer in Lansing, Michigan, who uttered a number of racial slurs has been fired. Leonel Rangel, who is Hispanic, had been cited by the Lansing Police Department (LPD) for a series of comments he made last November.

According to a disciplinary charge sheet, while he was in the report writing room at the police station, he said "Somali citizens need to return to the Congo." On the same day he also said that another officer would not be promoted because he was "dumb and black," the Lansing State Journal reported. The charge sheet also stated that he had answered a phone call by saying: "What's up [n-word]?"

His immediate superior, Sergeant Ed Guerra, had initially recommended he be suspended for 30 days and undergo diversity training. However, following a hearing with police top brass, police chief Mike Yankowski insisted that the officer should be fired in December.

The revelations only came to light following a freedom of information request by the State Journal. Initially, Lansing's attorney office had ruled that disclosing the details of the case "would have a chilling effect upon internal investigations."

Yankowski had been tight-lipped about the identity of the officer, citing that there was a union grievance filed about the dismissal. However, it emerged that the union, the Fraternal Order of Police, decided not to go ahead with the case.

The newspaper has made another freedom of information request over whether Rangel is still licensed as a police officer, after the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards, declined to say whether he was still serving.

Allegations of racism within the police have dogged other forces. In June, officers from Dallas were put on administrative leave and 21 others were put under internal investigation for allegedly making racist and violent comments on their Facebook profiles.

The move by the Dallas Police Department followed the revelations earlier this month of social media posts from police officers in eight U.S. jurisdictions made public by The Plain View Project, which analyzed social media profiles of officers for inflammatory or otherwise objectionable content.

Also this month, Sgt. Ryan O'Neill, a white officer who shot and killed a black man suspected of breaking into cars, resigned from Indiana's South Bend Police Department.

There had been previous allegations O'Neill was racially biased, including claims he had made disparaging comments about interracial marriage.

Police Officer Fired for Racial Slurs After Calling Coworker 'Dumb and Black' | U.S.