Melbourne officer's use of racial slur under investigation

An Internal Affairs investigation has been opened to review the racially charged comment of a police officer during a high speed car chase.

The NAACP says no matter what the situation, the word is hurtful and unacceptable.

As African American suspect Vince White was fleeing from Melbourne police officers, a dash camera captured video and audio. Dialog from inside a police cruiser was recorded and an unidentified officer is heard blurting out the racial slur.

“Stay in the car [expletive], stay in the car!” is said during the recording.

Melbourne Police Chief Dave Gillespie says the officer is suspended with pay while the matter is under review

“And we will not tolerate anything that is racially motivated, racial profiling, things that are insensitive?” Gillespie said at a Wednesday press conference inside headquarters.

The name of the officer is being with-held.

Meanwhile, Vince White appeared before a judge Wednesday afternoon (charged for fleeing from officers, reckless driving and possession of multiple substances). White was being followed by officers after an alleged domestic violence incident, though it’s not clear if he heard what the officer said.

Nonetheless, the Brevard Chapter of NAACP condemns it.

“It brings anger, hate, and all those negative feelings to the person who it’s directed to. It reminds me of a time when I was walking down the street as a little kid and some white kids drove by and called me the N-word for no reason I was just outside playing.” said NAACP Chapter President James Minus.

“As soon as the investigation is complete, I will provide additional details and the case will be readily available,” Gillespie said.

The chief says at the end of that investigation there could be disciplinary action, but he didn’t want to talk about what that could be.