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JUNE 30, 2015
A Fort Lauderdale police officer's comments on Facebook about black people have cost him his job.
Officer Jeffery Feldewert, 45, wrote "Typical Hoodrat Behavior" in a Facebook post that also included a photograph of a black man being arrested by white police officers. A caption for the photo read, "BLACK PEOPLE. Because without them, the evening news wouldn't be as much fun to watch,"
Those Facebook comments were made in December 2014, in response to a Facebook post about three African-Americans who were involved in a bar fight, according to Police Chief Franklin Adderley's, in a June 11th dismissal letter to the officer.
A civilian replied to Feldewert's Facebook comments, writing, "I hope you are not a cop as well, because you have a strong opinion about an entire race which I can only imagine clouds your judgment. SAD!" Chief Adderley's letter stated.
The police department also objected to an image on Feldewert's Facebook profile of a skull wrapped in an American flag, with a Fort Lauderdale police badge on the forehead.
A portion of the words "SAVAGE HUNTER" appeared under the design and "reflects a negative image of our agency," Chief Adderley wrote.
Feldewert violated department policies that prohibit employees from displaying city or police logos, seals, badges, patches or uniforms on social media sites, as well as rules against speech that maligns or ridicules or otherwise expresses bias against any race, religion or protected class of people, according to the chief's letter.
An agency spokeswoman said the investigation into Feldewert's use of social media is "not related in any way" to the five-month inquiry of personal cellphone texts and a movie trailer parody that the city found were racist and led to the resignation of one officer and dismissal of three others in March.
Three of those former officers; James Wells, Jason Holding and Christopher Sousa, are appealing their terminations and will be going through arbitration. The fourth officer, Alex Alvarez, resigned and is not seeking reinstatement.
July 27, 2015
When asked why he commented on a Facebook post about black suspects with the words "typical hood rat behavior," Fort Lauderdale police Officer Jeffery Feldewert said it wasn't a racist message.
Internal affairs Sgt. Cecil Stone asked Feldewert in an audiotaped interview.
"What did you mean by hood rat?"
"People who seem to wake up in the morning with the sole purpose of creating chaos and mayhem,"
"Does that apply to a particular race of people?"
"Would it apply to black people?"
"What does that mean?"
"It means that generally on the news black people seem to be front and center on committing some sort of crime," Feldewert said. "And the news media seem to always be harping on it."
"It was supposed to get a chuckle," he said. "It was meant to be funny."
"It's people who act uncivilized -- (the) criminal element -- and we hunt them,"
"When you say we, what are you referring to?"
When officer Feldewert said he considered all criminals as "savages," Stone posed the question of someone stealing a soda from a supermarket.
"Do you see that person as being a savage?" asked Sergeant Stone.
"Yes," answered Feldewert.
Corin Ercolano, who replied to the original post with disgust, found no humor in any of it and said it was scary that someone who would post such things on Facebook shouldn't be a cop.
"I'm not an African-American and I was still offended," she said.