Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

St. Louis Black Cop Gets Racist Internal Letter With N-Word Usage: "KILL YOURSELF"

Posted By on Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 10:42 AM

NOTE 8/15/2014: This is not the same Darren Wilson who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson. A lot of people are googling the name of the Ferguson police offer and arriving at this Riverfront Times' story from last year. The two cops are NOT the same. Original story from September 2013 follows...

A black cop with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department received a hate-filled, profanity-laced letter in his office mailbox that used the n-word and included an all-caps threat saying, "KILL YOURSELF...OR WE WILL."

"He didn't know what to do. He was in disbelief: 'Is this really happening to me?'" Sergeant Darren Wilson, president of the Ethical Society of Police, tells Daily RFT. "It's heartbreaking."

The officer in the south patrol division apparently received the letter through interdepartmental mail, which, Wilson explains, means it must have come from within the police agency.

See also: Sgt. David Bonenberger Awarded $620,000 for "Reverse Discrimination" by St. Louis Police

Here's the text of the letter, via the Post-Dispatch, which first reported on the matter yesterday:

You black (expletive). We want you out of our station. We want your black (expletive) dead. (Expletive) your medals. If an aide call comes out for you WE WON'T RESPOND. KILL YOURSELF (expletive) OR WE WILL. Respectfully, South Patrol.

"The officer has an excellent reputation," Wilson tells us, noting that he has been with the department for under five years. "He gets along with everyone. He was shocked."

The cop in question apparently received the letter about a month ago and at first did not report it. Eventually he mentioned it to a colleague who brought it to the attention of Wilson with the Ethical Society of Police, which represents black police officers.

Now, Police Chief Sam Dotson has ordered internal and criminal investigations into the matter.

click to enlarge Police Chief Sam Dotson. - VIA FACEBOOK / SLMPD

Wilson, who met with Dotson and Lt. Colonel Paul Nocchiero regarding the incident, says, "Their response was satisfactory. Not to say we are just going to let it rest and put total trust and confidence that they will carry it through. We are going to follow through and stay in touch and make sure all efforts are being exhausted to bring this to some sort of viable resolution."

Of the department officials, he says, "They were really focused on trying to reassure him and us that this is not indicative of this...police department and we'd like to think that as well."

If the person who wrote the letter is identified, termination would be in order and potentially criminal charges as well, Wilson says.

It may be considered a hate crime.

Who might have done this?

"We have no clue. That's the scary part about it," Wilson says. "It has everyone looking over their shoulder."

He says that it causes officers to raise questions: "How am I being treated? How am I being looked at? How are the citizens who are calling 911 for services being viewed?"

Wilson says the incident is especially frustrating given efforts he has made to diversify the Ethical Society of Police, an organization which he has been involved with for around seventeen years, about two as president. "I work hard at promoting a more unified environment."

He continues, "I know there are mentalities out there that exist -- all sorts of mentalities, whether racist ones, unprofessional ones, immature ones."

It's disappointing, he adds, but this kind of racism does still exist today: "We need to raise awareness and educate this community."

Daily RFT reached out to the police department this morning for comment and will update if we hear back. In the meantime, you can read Dotson's comments to the P-D here.

Update, 12:40 p.m. September 4, 2013: A metro police spokeswoman just sent Daily RFT this statement on the matter:

Chief Dotson has stated his frustration and disappointment with the letter. Upon learning of the letter, he immediately ordered both a criminal and internal investigation into the matter. Racism or discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated within the department and such behavior is not reflective of the men and women sworn to protect and serve the citizens of St. Louis. The investigations are ongoing.

And here's a letter that Wilson sent to his members regarding the incident.

ESOP Letter

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

Tags: , ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 26, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2022 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation