Deputy Jean Lopez of Lee County, Florida, was fired on April 16 for making racial comments on a Facebook post.
According to an internal affairs report, the Facebook page Street FX Motorsports & Graphics uploaded a video that featured a black man talking about his company and competitors and Lopez commented, "Can someone translate WHAT THE **** this monkey is saying?" and "GET A ******* REAL LIFE MONKEY!”
Sheriff’s Department officials said the post violated its policy. "It's not acceptable and that's why he's out of a job," Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott told NBC2. He added that the comment made it seem like Lopez couldn’t perform his duties without prejudice.
Lopez defended himself and said that, while he did use “monkey” to describe a black man and is aware of its racist connotations, he didn’t mean for his comment to be racist. He said he used the word to describe people saying "stupid or funny stuff."
This wasn’t the first time Lopez, who had been on the force since 2006, had been in trouble. In 2008, he reportedly threatened his wife and improperly handled a suspect’s money. In 2009, he received a written reprimand for getting involved in a neighbor’s domestic dispute while off duty.
In 2013, Lopez was accused of having sex with a prostitute but an investigation cleared him. In March 2014, he was placed on administrative leave for the officer-involved shooting of Joshua Young. According to investigators, Young tried to run the deputies over. Lopez was cleared of wrongdoing.
Image via NBC2