You may have heard about the Columbus Police Officer who posted some videos of herself (and her sister) on the internet making some pretty outlandish anti-Semitic claims. Just in case you haven’t, here is one of the many videos.

Of course, they aren’t limiting their comments to Jews. They have videos on Ebonics (and racial stereotypes!), Miami Cubans, and the US border. They even have a website – they call themselves The Patriot Dames. (And they appear to support Ron Paul!)

Mayor Coleman has requested a formal investigation. You can see the text after the jump.

August 28, 2007

Director Mitchell J. Brown
Department of Public Safety
50 W. Gay Street
Columbus OH 43215

Director Brown:

Today, I viewed the internet video clips of Columbus Police Officer Susan L. Purtee, and instruct the Department of Public Safety and Division of Police to engage in an immediate disciplinary investigation. I am personally offended by her racist and anti-Semitic comments, and I believe our citizens should be equally offended. As Mayor, I am highly concerned that this unacceptable conduct will reflect negatively on the entire Division and the City of Columbus. Clearly, Officer Purtee is not representative of our Division?s many great Officers. While we respect the right of free speech, we also demand that every Officer meets the highest standard of conduct on and off the job. In my opinion, Officer Purtee?s conduct falls far below this City?s expectations.

Few positions in American society entail and demand more implicit trust and respect than serving the public as a Police Officer. The Columbus Division of Police is among the nation?s best, and each officer takes an oath to protect the lives and rights of all citizens. In recent years, the City and Division worked hard to address Department of Justice and citizen complaints of discrimination, by implementing new diversity training, higher standards, video cameras in patrol cars, increased minority recruiting, and other initiatives to increase accountability and sensitivity of Officers interacting with residents. These actions and strong neighborhood policing efforts with Community Liaison Officers have helped rebuild bridges of trust with our city?s many diverse residents, and the conduct of Officer Purtee threatens that progress.

Our Division is held to a high standard, based on a long history of excellence, service and respect. After viewing the video, I ask that you review whether this behavior represents conduct unbecoming an Officer pursuant to Police directives. Officer Purtee?s conduct should not tarnish the badge of every one of our more than 1,800 Officers if not dealt with immediately.

Sincerely,

Michael B. Coleman
Mayor

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  • Shalom Eric,

    The mayor is doing what he has to do politically, but he’s wrong.

    We still have a first amendment to our Constitution (despite the best efforts of Neo/Theocons) and her video is protected speech of the high test order.

    It’s total, ignorant bullshit, but it’s still protected speech.

    The response to offensive speech must always be truth, not censorship.

    Drop me an email if you’d like to hear what I’ve got in the works.

    B’shalom,

    Jeff

  • Anonymous Coward

    It is so sad that these two ladies have been given so much attention. The cop should been fired due to the fact that Tax Money, in a round about way, has paid to spread her horrible messages. If she wasn’t a cop then it would have been just another qwack spouting crap online.

    Do a “whois lookup” for thepatriotdames.com and you can get http://www.whois.net/whois_new.cgi?d=thepatriotdames&tld=com their mailing address & phone number. Maybe we should call and tell them what we think of ’em!?

  • Modern Esquire

    I disagree Jeff.

    If the city is sued by someone who is Jewish or African-American (or both) who says that this officer either filed false charges against them or used excessive force and it comes out that the city was aware of her racist and anti-semetic views and did nothing, what then? Detective Fuhrman ring a bell?

    The fact is that she is in a position of trust in which she has direct access to subject anyone she wants to the criminal justice system. These views suggests that she is liable to use the discretion vested in her inappropriately.

    She decided to inject herself in a public forum and mentioned her job in law enforcement as a way to present herself with credibility. Such an invocation of her employment now puts the city in a position to decide whether they want to be associated with one of its employee’s views or not.

    She is free to hold her beliefs. Her employer is free, though, to say that they will not allow their employees to invoke their employment status as a way to associate their views with the city to make them seem more legitimate.

    Freedom of speech has never meant freedom from consequences.

  • John

    I think moderen esquire is correct and she should have to deal with whatever consequences the city deems neccesary she is an officer for the city and that needs to be addressed since her comments are so incindiary

  • IIRC, Susan actually says she’s a police officer (but not where) in one of the videos.

    Jeff is right that the woman is allowed to hold such views. You can’t regulate that. OTOH, as Modern Esquire points out, she’s in a position of power and publicly espousing some upsetting views that she is in a position to act upon in a way that, say, a private citizen wingnut blogger is not.

    She should remain free to espouse her viewpoints, but no longer free to enforce them as a public safety official. If the investigation shows no history of inappropriate behavior at work, then termination might be harsh. But I think the city should work very hard to ensure that any future relationship is one where her ability to act inappropriately at work is severely restricted by placing her in job roles with little to no opportunity to interact with citizens.

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