The FBI has begun looking into the case of four Florida police officers who were accused of exchanging text messages and a video containing racist slurs and violent imagery, the Sun Sentinel newspaper reported on Sunday.
The Fort Lauderdale Police Department fired three officers — James Wells, Jason Holding, and Christopher Sousa — for allegedly sending text messages to one another that included racially charged words like “nigger,” the Broward Palm Beach New Times reported last week. Another officer, Alex Alvarez, resigned from the force in January before the police department completed the investigation, according to the newspaper.
The department’s investigation found officers allegedly talked about “killing niggers” and shared text messages using the phrases including “nigger lover,” “retarded brown,” and “faggot,” according to the New Times.
The officers also allegedly shared a video, which the New Times reported had been created by Alvarez.
The mock movie trailer for “The Hoods” used the word “niggers” and showed a dog attacking a black man. The video also depicted President Obama with gold teeth and included Ku Klux Klan imagery.
The Sun Sentinel reported on Sunday that the FBI’s civil rights division has launched what was described as an inquiry into the allegations.
The FBI will meet with police department officials in Fort Lauderdale this week, according to the Sun Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler told the Sun Sentinel that the FBI has only launched an inquiry into the Fort Lauderdale investigation, not a full probe of its own.
The three officers who were fired told the department’s internal investigators they do not hold racist views, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Franklin Adderley told reporters on Saturday that the department will not tolerate the behavior shown by the four officers.
“There was no criminal behavior detected during this investigation, however, the four officers’ conduct was inexcusable and there is zero tolerance for this kind of behavior in the Fort Lauderdale Police Department,” Adderlay said, according to CNN. “Its attempt was to damage the image of our agency and I just hope that the people and the public realize that we’re not going to tolerate it and anyone that’s engaged in this behavior will be addressed immediately.”
The New Times posted the racist video allegedly shared by the officers. Watch it below: