School resource officer fired by Tampa Police for using racial slur

The officer, who is Black, said he did not mean the word in a derogatory manner.
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Published March 2, 2021|Updated March 3, 2021

TAMPA — The school resource officer at Middleton High School was fired Tuesday after his body-worn camera captured him using the n-word multiple times, according to the Tampa Police Department.

Officer Delvin White was fired for “violations of policy that prohibit discriminatory conduct,” said a news release. He was an eight-year veteran of the department.

Related: Tampa police union will fight firing of Black officer who used racial slur

A disposition letter released by police about White’s actions said he used the racial slur while on the phone and directly to a person while he was arresting them Nov. 30.

The officer is Black, Tampa police spokesman Eddy Durkin confirmed to the Times. Nearly half the students attending Middleton are Black compared to one in five students districtwide, according to district demographic data.

When confronted about his actions, White told his superior that he did not mean for the word to be derogatory. Instead, he said that he was using the word as it is “commonly used in today’s society as a means of shared culture and experiences among the African American community,” the letter said.

White’s actions during the November phone call came to light after a random audit of body-worn camera footage, police said. He admitted to using the racial slur during the arrest that happened later that month, police said.

White was recorded saying the word to reference a “group of persons” while on the phone and driving home from an off-duty assignment Nov. 13, according to the letter. He later used it again while talking on the phone with his wife.

On Nov. 30, camera footage showed White used the word twice while arresting a suspect for trespassing.

“Derogatory statements made by police officers jeopardize the trust that our department works to establish with our community,” said Chief Brian Dugan in a statement. “Tampa Police officers are held to a higher standard and incidents like this negatively impact the entire law enforcement profession.”