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Black police officer who was fired for using the N-word gets his job back

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Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The black Florida police officer who was fired for using the N-word while on duty has been reinstated after he insisted that he didn't mean it in a derogatory manner.

What's a brief history here?

A random audit of Tampa Police Officer Delvin White's bodycam footage showed that the officer used the N-word on several occasions during 2020, and at least once during an exchange with a black teen during an arrest.

Following the audit, Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan fired White for "violations of policy that prohibit discriminatory conduct."

White, however, said that he never intended for the word to be offensive, and merely used it as a way of expressing "culture and experiences among the African-American community."

Content warning: Rough language:

What are the details?

Tampa's Civil Service Board on Monday decided that the termination was not appropriate for the infraction, according to a Daily Mail report, and voted 3-0 to reinstate the officer effective immediately.

"I do not want to see the city lose an employee like that who obviously does his job above and beyond," one board member said, "a difficult job, let's face it, in very difficult circumstances. It's like cutting off your nose to spite your face."

In the footage, White can be heard using the word twice while arresting a student in November.

The unnamed student can be heard saying, "Man, make me, bro. You trippin.'"

White responds, "I told you, n*****, we ain't playing games with your ass."

The teen later says, "You don't know what a n***** be going through."

White, a resource officer at Middleton High School, reportedly told his superiors that he did not mean for the use of the word to be derogatory and instead said that the word is "commonly used in today's society as a means of shared culture and experiences among the African-American community."

Ahead of the Monday vote, Dugan said, "This isn't about racism, this is about professionalism. Office White isn't playing golf with his frat brothers, he's not playing poker, he's wearing the uniform of a Tampa Police Department officer and speaking to a student that way."

He also added that the city's employee manual prohibits the use of any racial slurs, according to the New York Post.

White, an eight-year department veteran, did not receive back pay upon his reinstatement.

Following the hearing, White said that he hoped to return to Middletown High School to continue his career.

"I was made to be an SRO," he said.

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