Bad cops

Four officers fired for sending homophobic texts and joking about disabled people being raped

Four police officers have been canned for sending “discriminatory and offensive” messages about gay and disabled people to one another on the app WhatsApp.

The officers, whose names have not been released, belonged to the Leicestershire Police Department in the U.K. They exchanged nearly 100 messages between 2013 and 2014.

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The messages, which were sent in a closed chat group set up by one of the officers, included childish phrases like “big gay bear” and “big gay purple head” and made jokes about people with disabilities being raped and other things officers of the law, or anyone for that matter, really shouldn’t be joking about.

In a hearing this week, disciplinary panel chairman Miran Uddin called the messages “abhorrent,” adding that the words written by one officer in particular “would raise nothing but abhorrence in the mind of a reasonable member of the public.”

But the lawyers representing the four officers, Nick Yeo and Matthew Butt, argued that the officers never actually discriminated against anyone, and that the texts “did not reflect the officers’ beliefs.”

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“It is a little over two years since the officers were told their conduct was going to be the subject of these proceedings,” Yeo said. “In each case, the officers will tell you they are a changed person.”

Yeo added that the messages are “not reflective of their true character as you would find it today” and that they’ve had “plenty of time for them to reflect on their conduct and modify their behavior.”

But that wasn’t enough to stop the disciplinary panel from firing the four officers.

“Public confidence in the police would be wholly undermined by any outcome other than dismissal,” Uddin said.

Related: Even More San Francisco Police Officers Have Been Outed For Sending Racist And Antigay Texts

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12 Comments

  • Luna1979

    “Big gay bear”? That’s the homophobic slur? I’m surprised he even knew what a bear was! Come on, if you want to sway my opinion and incite me to a 10 minute’ s hate, you’ll have to do better.

    • charlie_jackpot

      And you are also OK with the disability comments?

    • Brian

      This article is saying the phrases included “gay bear.” Seems to suggest that there were many other phrases – especially if they totaled 100 messages over 2 years. But you’re right that it’s annoying to read so little of the story here. We don’t know what really happened.

    • DCguy

      Funny how you left out the comments where they hoped disabled people got raped.

      Interesting you seem to have tried to avoid those in your rant. Why?

  • amigay

    Funny how the words spoken/texted/written “don’t really reflect the person” once they been outed.

  • Sam6969

    They were on a private closed chat group, therefore not made public. Why do their hierarchy are even looking into it? Those privacy issues really bug me.

    • RomanHans

      Bigoted policemen who hide their beliefs so they won’t be fired bug me even more.

    • Sam6969

      Sometimes we all need to ventilate in expected private places, whether or not we really think what we say. If we have to pay for any curse words we use or rants we make in private, we are all going to be punished. As a matter of fact, from the article, we do not know for sure if they are bigoted or not.

    • DCguy

      Is this a joke?

      If a person is a nurse, and in a “Private” chat they say that they think all of the people with Cancer, or AIDS, or who are over the age of 75 should be put to death you don’t think that is relevant to their job?

      If these Police officers were saying that they hoped disabled people got raped, then there are absolutely questions as to how they would handle an ACTUAL rape of a disabled person. Would that officer or officers not peruse the rapist as doggedly as they would if a non-disabled person were attacked?

    • Sam6969

      Your comparison is irrelevant, since it is a caricature. There is no sign of those policemen calling to death for gay people or even calling to rape disable people in the article.

      If it was the case, it would be a different matter, but it is not. It looks more like childish behavior.

      I make a difference between what is told in private and does not necessarily translate what they really think, and what is told in public. They may be bigoted people or not, and we cannot know based on this article. The desision of their hierarchy to fire them may well be excessive.

    • DCguy

      Awwww, Sam, how cute, you are trying to pretend that something that they actually said wasn’t said by them.

      Nice try, but the fact that you’re lying about it shows that you have some sort of agenda here.

  • Creamsicle

    Not to condone or excuse what they did, because I don’t know the full extent or severity of their messages, but this sounds like the kind of gallows humor you’d expect from people who work in law enforcement and have to deal with people at their worst all the time. Unless there’s definitive proof that the comments they made were reflected in their work as officers then I feel very leery about their firing.

    It’s like if we fired EMTs for going on reddit and talking about the worst calls they ever got when a guy was so fat and sedantary that he’d fused to his couch. We might not want people working in those jobs to be talking like that, but that’s the culture on the job, and people need to blow off steam to deal with jobs that can showcase human awfulness.

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