On Friday, an appellate court upheld the firing of an Arkansas police officer who was caught on camera drunkenly calling a man a “jigaboo.”
Former Little Rock police officer David Edgmon was caught on camera in 2010 arguing a with a group of African-American men. Edgmon, 24, later admitted he was drunk when he confronted the men outside of Ernie Biggs Piano Bar and asked them to stop “blowing weed in my face.”
When he realized he was being filmed, Edgmon said, “Get out of my f---ing face. Get this illegal product, f---ing jigaboo s--- out of my f---ing face."
The video was later uploaded to YouTube.
Edgmon was fired after a Pulaski County Circuit Court ruled he was guilty of engaging in conduct unbecoming an officer, engaging in personal conduct which could result in justified criticism of the officer or the department, and being intoxicated in public view.
He testified that he did not realize that “jigaboo” was an offensive term, Courthourse News Service reported.
During a hearing, Police Chief Stuart Thomas said he “didn’t have a question in (his) mind” that Edgmon knew the term was offensive.
Edgmon appealed the ruling based on a 1990 case in which a white Little Rock offier attended a Halloween party thrown by the Fraternal Order of Police wearing black face and an afro wig. That officer was reportedly only suspended 90 days.
Appeals Court Judge Larry D. Vaught said that example was “too distant in time” to serve as a precedent in Edgmon’s case.
“We agree that the probative value of an event that occurred 20 years prior, under a different administration, is minimal,” wrote Vaught in his decision, “and refusal of the evidence does not amount to a manifest abuse of discretion.”