Seattle officer fired after investigation into racist remark

Seattle’s interim police chief has fired an officer for making a racist remark about a Black man last year, following an internal review into the incident.

The review came after three officers reported their colleague’s comments, The Seattle Times reported Sunday based on records released by the city’s police watchdog, the Office of Police Accountability.

The unnamed officer, who worked for the department since July 2017, was fired in November.

In late March 2020, the officer and the three others had responded to a trespass call at a North Seattle hospital that led them to remove a Black man who "appeared to be of African descent," according to a summary of the investigation.

Days later, while the officers were waiting to pick up a meal, the now-fired officer referred to the Black man as "Kunta Kinte," a central character in author Alex Haley’s 1976 novel "Roots," about a young African man sold into slavery, according to the investigation.

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When an investigator questioned the accused officer, he said he used the name "because the individual was African" and he could not remember his name.

It was "abundantly clear" that the officer’s statement constituted biased policing, Office of Police Accountability Director Andrew Myerberg said.

"The use of ‘Kunta Kinte’ to refer to any Black person, let alone an individual of African descent, is racist and in direct contravention of policy," Myerberg wrote.