The sheriff’s department of Montgomery County, Ohio said on Tuesday it was investigating five deputies for allegedly sending racist text messages both on and off duty, with some of the slurs reportedly directed at black deputies.
Captain Thomas Flanders and Detective Michael Sollenberger, both suspended on paid administrative leave, were two of the five under investigation after a complaint from the Dayton Unit NAACP, television WDTN reported this week. The three other deputies were not publicly named.
Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer addressed the “very disturbing racial text messages” on Tuesday, according to the local station.
“I will not tolerate racism in this department,” he said. The sheriff said that the messages in question were sent on personal cell phones between November 2011 and January 2013, according to WDTN.
Plummer also identified Sollenberger as a part of Internal Affairs and Flanders as head of the Montgomery County Jail, the station reported.
WDTN spoke to Flanders and his wife, who denied sending any racist messages.
Another television station, WKEF, reached Detective Sollenberger, who offered no comment.
A sample of some of the texts contained in documents obtained by WKEF:
- “I hate N*ggers. That is all.”
- “What do apples and black people have in common? They both hang from trees.”
- “We stopped at a Walmart in Birmingham, there are a lot of Black people in Alabama. It’s all Martin Luther Kings fault.”
- “Very simply put, they’re N*ggers, son.”