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AUGUST 3, 2015
A 20-year veteran of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department who was fired in June after posting racist comments to his Facebook profile was rehired.
Officer Jeffery Feldewert, 45, had posted a photo of a black man being arrested and wrote “Typical Hoodrat Behavior” as the accompanying caption.
His profile photo was also reportedly a picture of a red, white and blue skull with the Fort Lauderdale police badge, and the words “savage hunter” on it.
After appealing the decision, with the help of his police union, the officer was given a 10-day suspension and the decision to terminate him was reversed.
“While the city certainly does not condone Officer Feldewert’s actions, nor are they in any way representative of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, the actual matter, evaluated with the officer’s record, did not warrant termination,” City Manager Lee Feldman wrote in an email to the Sun Sentinel.
City Manager Lee Feldman said one reason for firing was a concern that the actions by Patrol Officer Jeffery Feldewert, would endanger the prosecution of arrests that he was involved in.
Feldman said the State Attorney's Office has since reviewed the matter and determined "the officer's behavior would not impede the future prosecution of cases."
"While the city certainly does not condone Officer Feldewert's actions, nor are they in any way representative of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, the actual matter, evaluated with the officer's record, did not warrant termination," Feldman said.
“Feldewert is not challenging his unpaid suspension”, police union president Jack Lokeinsky said.
Feldewert had been on unpaid suspension since he was notified of his firing June 11, pending the outcome of his appeal. He returned to work and will receive back pay for all but 10 days of that time, Lokeinsky said.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2015
More than 30 activists attended a City Commission meeting to discuss the reinstatement of Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Jeffery Feldewert, who was fired in June over racist Facebook comments and then brought back on the force last month. Six activists took to the podium to explain that officers like Feldewert cannot fairly serve the black community. All the commissioners listened and were receptive to the activists’ comments, and by the end, they got what they came for. A meeting with Commissioner Dean Trantalis.
At the meeting, activists demanded Feldewert’s gun and badge but also stressed that there need to be ways to prevent such systemic racism within the police department.
“At the end of the day, even if he is fired, there’s still the issue there,” Didier Ortiz, cochair of the Broward Green Party, said after the meeting. “It’s our job to have him fired, but there’s the more important goal to address police brutality and abuses of power and generate a law enforcement agency that is fully accountable.”
“It went really well,” Jasmen Rogers said after the meeting. “Racism in the police department is like a cancer, and it is time they cut it out instead of allowing it to fester and grow. It’s a detriment to the police department and the entire city.”
“It’s disappointing that another officer showing blatant racist behavior was allowed to get away with a slap on the wrist,” Roger said. “It’s upsetting as a black woman within this community. It’s terrible.”
Commissioner Trantalis agreed to meet with the activists to explore the issue more.
All the activists considered the meeting a success. They’re currently scheduling an appointment with Trantalis at City Hall.
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