Former Orting police officer's SUV spray-painted with racial slur

PUYALLUP, Wash. -- A former Orting police officer's SUV was spray-painted with a racial slur and a warning.

Gerry Pickens discovered that someone had vandalized his SUV by spray-painting the N-word on one side and a threat on the other.

"I was disturbed.  I didn't know how to go back into my house and tell my wife somebody vandalized our property ... I felt violated," Pickens said Tuesday.

He discovered it Monday morning.  Pickens said he worries about his wife and young daughter.

"The first thing I thought about was my family's safety.  You know, they come before everything, so my heart dropped," Pickens said.

He added that he doesn't feel it was a random act.  Written on the other side of the SUV was a message: "sue chief and pay."

Pickens said he was fired by Orting police last year, shortly before his probationary time was up.  He says he was discriminated against and is considering taking legal action.

The city of Orting released a statement saying: "The City has no tolerance for hate speech.  This act is an offensive & deplorable crime and we hope it is investigated and that the person or persons involved are identified and successfully prosecuted."

The Pierce County Sheriffs Department is investigating.