A police officer in Florida lost his job after video surfaced of him referring to a black man using the n-word.
Michael Naples stepped down from his position as a probationary officer with the St. Petersburg Police Department after being caught on video referring to a citizen as “a piece of shit n—-r.”
A news release from the department confirmed the content of the video in question.
“Overnight, a cell phone video showing a St. Petersburg Police officer using a racial slur came to the department’s attention,” the release said.
It all apparently happened when Naples responded to call on Monday night regarding a dispute between a pizza delivery driver and a customer. The delivery driver claimed the customer, Levonte Daniels, dented her car with a fire extinguisher. Daniels said the driver tried to hit him with her car and that he grabbed the fire extinguisher in self-defense.
As a result of that incident, Daniels was given a summons for criminal mischief.
Daniels said he attempted to plead his case.
“Once I told him ‘Well, you’re trying to railroad me,’ [Naples] said, ‘Well, you’re a piece of shit,” Daniels recalled in comments to ABC Action News. As Naples was readying to leave, Daniels countered, “You’re a piece of shit, too!” Naples then responded in kind–with the addition of the aforementioned racial slur.
In comments to Bay News 9, Daniels said the slur hurt more because of who said it.
It hurt, literally. It really hurt. It’s not the first time I’ve been called that word. So it didn’t hurt because I was called that word, it hurt because that was a police officer.
Daniels continued, expressing zero doubt as to the language used by now-former officer Naples.
“Once I told him I got him on camera, I’m pretty sure he knew he had messed up,” Daniels said. “So, the fact that he resigned is pretty much evidence to what I said he did.”
Naples immediately resigned after meeting with departmental supervisors for a joint viewing and discussion of the video and his remarks. He would have been fired anyway–even though he expressed remorse for his choice of words, according to Chief of Police Anthony Holloway.
“We hold our officers to the highest professional standard,” Holloway said. “The use of profanity and racial slurs is not tolerated under any circumstances.”
Daniels said he appreciated that the police department took action.
[image via screengrab/ABC Action News]