Is this a case of equal-opportunity suspension? Two days after a white Ohio police officer was suspended for using the "N-word" on duty, a black officer got the same treatment for doing the same thing—though he did it back in September, USA Today reports. The story unfolded Wednesday when Cincinnati Police Officer Dennis Barnette, who is white, was suspended for using the racial slur while trying to arrest a black woman Saturday at a nightclub, per the Cincinnati Enquirer. The slur could be heard on a fellow officer's body camera. "This type of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated inside the department," wrote Police Chief Eliot Isaac, and several city council members wanted Barnette fired.
The Barnette case triggered an internal investigation that looked into previous, similar cases—which brought up a September incident in which Officer Donte Hill, who is black, responded to a call in Cincinnati's Westwood neighborhood, per the Enquirer. Body-camera footage showed that Hill used "excessive profane language and also utilized a racial slur (the 'N' word) when addressing the individuals involved," Isaac says. But Hill only got a reprimand, and his case never went to the internal investigations section. Now Barnette and Hill are both on desk duty. "Although we hear [the slur] often" on the street, says Fraternal Order of Police President Dan Hils, "...there is no place for it in a professional capacity." (A FedEx driver will not face charges for fatally striking a man who hurled racial slurs.)