An Aurora, Colorado police officer fired in the summer of 2017 after making a racist slur was just reinstated by that city’s Civil Service Commission.
Then Aurora Police Department Lt. Charles “Chuck” DeShazer made a vile racist slur to describe African-American bystanders during a call for assistance from Denver Police who were chasing a suspect into Aurora.
DeShazer’s comments, which were captured on police body cameras, were made to fellow cops, not to members of the public. Officers reported his conduct and he was fired by the Aurora police chief.
This was not the first time DeShazer got into trouble for inappropriate comments and racist remarks.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Aurora, Colordao Police Lieutenant Charles DeShazer Called Black People ‘Alabama Porch Monkeys’
What DeShazer said is not in dispute; it was recorded. “We got the Alabama porch monkeys all contained.”
According to Aurora Police Chief Nicholas Metz, on June 18, 2017, then-Aurora police Lt. Charles “Chuck” DeShazer “made a highly inappropriate and racially inflammatory comment while on the scene of a Denver Police Department officer involved shooting following a police pursuit.”
“The offensive statement was caught on the body worn camera of another officer, and was reported internally by two APD supervisors who were also at the scene and heard the comment. An internal affairs investigation was immediately initiated. Following the investigation,” the chief wrote. “I terminated Lt. DeShazer on September 1, 2017.”
DeShazer was fired but appealed his termination.
2. After a Hearing, the Aurora Civil Service Commission Reinstated DeShazer Despite Agreeing His Statement Was Repugnant * Had Made Other Offensive Remarks
As was his right per the city’s charter, Metz said, DeShazer appealed his firing to the Civil Service Commission and a hearing was held in late June. On June 29 the commission agreed DeShazer needed “substantial discipline,” but reinstated the cop though he was demoted back to sergeant and will not receive back wages. The Commission was aware that DeShazer had previously been written up at least three times before inclduing once for making sexually offensive comments.
On the Aurora Police Department social media accounts, including its Facebook page, Metz shared his full statement on De Shazer. Residents largely were angered the officer was reinstated but praised the chief.
“The short version for the non-readers: the chief did everything in his power to fire the racist, but the commission, in it’s not-so-infinite wisdom, decided to be lenient. The racist was demoted, but gets to keep his job. Now the only thing that can be done is to teach him, as a community, that racism is stupid, since every individual is an individual, with their own personality and moral code which is not decided for them by their race,” wrote Lesley Mays.
3. Aurora Police Chief Metz, Who Was Against the Reinstatement, Said DeShazer Won’t be Stationed Anywhere Near Citizens
“The Department is in the process of returning Sgt. DeShazer back to work. He will first be assigned to the APD Academy to ensure he is in compliance with all POST certification requirements. His final assignment has yet to be determined. It is within my authority to set his assignment. I can assure the community that Sgt. DeShazer will not be in a supervisory or citizen-facing role,” Metz said in the Facebook post. POST certification stands for Police Officer Standard Training.
“The racially insensitive comment made by Sgt. DeShazer is in direct contradiction to the values of the Aurora Police Department. We hold ourselves to the highest standards, and when one of our officers fall short, we strive to take immediate and necessary action to ensure they are held accountable,” Metz assured the community.
“Every day, the women and men of the Aurora Police Department work diligently to maintain strong cooperative partnerships that are built on trust and respect within our diverse community. They interact with the public thousands of times a year, with the overwhelming majority of these contacts occurring without incident or problem. They put themselves in harm’s way for the betterment of the community. Inappropriate and racially offensive incidents happen infrequently, but are nonetheless of great concern to the Department and to me. I am committed to investigating these incidents when complaints are made, either internally or externally, and taking swift and decisive action when appropriate to hold officers accountable,” Metz said.
“The Department will continue to work on its mission To Make Aurora Safer Every Day and will continue to provide the highest level of service to all residents, enforce local laws and foster a strong relationship with the community,” Metz said.
4. In 2006, a Federal Lawsuit Alleged DeShazer Racially Profiled & Followed a Black Mother & Child, Called Them Fuc*ing Ni**ers While Moonlighting as a Supermarket Security Guard
According to court records obtained by Heavy, Loree McCormick-Rice, then 51, and her 12-year-old daughter Cassidy, both black, were loading groceries into their vehicle at a market called King Soopers. The car was parked in a handicapped spot and had a blue hang-tag. DeShazer who was working in the parking lot went to McCormick-Rice and asked to see her handicap parking permit. She pointed to it.
DeShazer walked away down the lot passing the next car also parked in a handicap spot where a white woman was also loading groceries. But she was parked illegally, the complaint reads, since she had no permit. DeShazer did not ticket the woman who said to McCormick-Rice it was “amazing” that the black mom was harassed by the cop and she was not.
McCormick-Rice said “some things will never change.”
“DeShazer muttered in a voice loud enough for McCormick-Rice, her daughter Cassidy, and the white woman to hear the epithet ‘fuc*ing ni**ers,’” the federal complaint reads. McCormick-Rice got the woman’s phone number and then went back in the store to tell management what Deshazer said.
5. DeShazer Was Alleged to Have Attacked & Fractured the Girl’s Shoulder But Was Cleared of Wrongdoing & Was Promoted a Year Later
After complaining to the market management and getting nowhere, McCormick and her daughter left. When they began to drive away, the suit alleges, DeShazer was now in his car and cursed at them and McCormick-Rice cursed back. DeShazer followed them in his vehicle and when the mother and daughter were at the “far, dark end of the parking lot, DeShazer activated his overhead lights in an effort to pull them over.”
McCormick-Rice was afraid to stop in an isolated spot and said she’d pull over “back in the front of the well-lit King Soopers.” She alleges that when she turned around, DeShazer cut her off and it was then that the daughter “jumped out of the car to run for help. DeShazer got out of his car and yelled at the young girl to get back in the car. DeShazer ran to Cassidy and jerked her arm so hard that he broke her collarbone. DeShazer then began to choke Cassidy, while McCormick-Rice screamed for help. At some point several other officers appeared on the scene, as did the store security guard and the cops, security guard and mother and daughter tussled. The mother and daughter were charged with resisting arrest and failing to obey an order though those charges were later dismissed. After being released from custody, the mother and daughter went to the hospital for the girl’s injury, a “fractured shoulder.”
The case wound through the courts and records show settlement discussions were had but it’s not clear if a settlement was reached and the case was ultimately dismissed.
A review panel made up of four police officers and four civilians cleared DeShazer of any wrongdoing.
The next year, DeShazer was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant. McCormick-Rice said at the time she was in disbelief over the promotion.