Tuesday, August 16, 2011

You Stay Classy, Oakland: Police Chief Suspended for Drunken Racial Slurs

Most libertarians lament how difficult it is to be fired from government employment. As we saw last month in Los Angeles, not even appearing in a porn film while "serving the public" is necessarily enough to cost you your job. And today brings us another contender for Most Outrageous Behavior Not Leading to Dismissal, courtesy of the Oakland Unified School District. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the chief of police for Oakland's schools has been put on paid leave while the district investigates complaints of a drunken rant filled with racial slurs, followed by an attempted cover-up.

According to reports, the alleged incident occurred in mid-July, at a charity golf tournament sponsored by Oakland police. After a day of drinking at the event, Chief Pete Sarna apparently hurled several racial insults at a black sergeant during the car ride home, saying blacks shouldn't be allowed to live in Orinda and "the only good n- is a dead n- and they should hang you in the town square to prevent any other n- from coming in the area." When the group reached a white sergeant's home, Sarna supposedly insulted the sergeant's children, and used more racial slurs toward an Asian colleague as he was being driven home. After a white officer filed a complaint, Sarna allegedly drove the black sergeant to a private location and told him, "What happened didn't happen." Since then, Sarna was placed on leave, and will stay there until the investigation is complete.

This, of course, isn't the first time alcohol has created problems for Sarna. After a decorated career in Oakland's police department, he was appointed to a lucrative post in the state's Justice Department by then-Attorney General Jerry Brown. In that post, he oversaw hundreds of department employees. Nevertheless, after crashing a state-provided car and being cited for drunk driving, he resigned in 2007. In government, unlike the private sector, such incidents are only a temporary inconvenience, provided you have the right connections.

(UPDATE, August 17: Well, that didn't take long: Sarna just resigned.)


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