Florida Police Captain Removed From Command After Ordering Deputy To Act Like A White Supremacist During Traffic Stop

Police are often accused of prac­tic­ing racial bias. The head of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in Florida has been relieved of duty after order­ing one of her offi­cers to take that bias to anoth­er lev­el.

The Washington Post reports that dur­ing a staged traf­fic stop involv­ing a mur­der sus­pect that the police want­ed a pho­to and thumbprint from, but didn’t want to tip the sus­pect off, Capt. Penny Phelps issued the fol­low­ing order:

She added, “I just want you to be the neo-Nazi who’s pick­ing on the black guy rid­ing the bike.”

As a result, the sheriff’s office removed Phelps from the mur­der case last month and, after learn­ing of mul­ti­ple alle­ga­tions of mis­con­duct, have opened an inter­nal inves­ti­ga­tion. Phelps was also relieved of her duties as com­man­der of the major crimes and nar­cotics units.

It’s com­mon for offi­cers to go under­cov­er in order to retrieve infor­ma­tion that would oth­er­wise be unat­tain­able, but con­sid­er­ing the con­tentious rela­tion­ship between police and the black com­mu­ni­ty, Phelps was pur­pose­ly sow­ing seeds of mis­trust that could yield dis­as­trous con­se­quences.

Spokesman Adam Linhardt declined to con­firm if Phelps’s instruc­tions were fol­lowed or go into detail about what penal­ties she is fac­ing. Officials also have yet to deter­mine if Phelps vio­lat­ed depart­ment pol­i­cy and offered no expla­na­tion as to why the sheriff’s office wait­ed so long to remove her from com­mand. Despite all this, her $110,000 salary remains unchanged.

So does that mean she’s keep­ing her job?

We have to have all the facts first,” Monroe Sheriff Rick Ramsay told the Miami Herald on Saturday, not­ing that Phelps has worked for the sheriff’s office for almost 20 years.