Police officer accused of using racial slur over scanner

HOPE, AR (KSLA) - A racial slur that went out on police radio to patrol cars, dispatch operators and scanners in homes around Hope, Arkansas Sunday night is stirring up residents.  People in that area are asking for the person that allegedly said it, to be fired.

That person, a reserve police officer with the Hope Police Deptartment, is currently on paid administrative leave.  According to J.R. Wilson, the Hope Police Chief, the reserve officer, who's name is not being released, was having a private coversation with his wife.  The officer was in his patrol car and his wife had pulled up in another vehicle beside him.  The two were talking when the officer received a call to report to a disturbance.  Unknowing his police radio was on, the officer was heard saying, "If them n****** on the war path shooting, I'm going down to the hospital."

Chief Wilson tells KSLA News 12 that the reserve officer didn't realize his police mic was open and his conversation was transmitting to scanners throughout the area. "Many people heard that and they were very upset.  There is no excuse for that," said Chief Wilson, Hope Police.

Hope residents are demanding the officer be fired. One couple spoke out to KSLA News 12 cameras while we were there interviewing the police chief about the incident.   "I want to file a complaint against that officer that used that word", said Billy White, Hope resident.

Billy White and his wife say they heard the racial slur and on Wednesday, they delievered a petition to the Hope Police Chief.  The petition is signed by 123 people who are asking for the officer to be terminated.  "We can't have an officer on the force saying these derogatory words," said Patsy White.

"Probably within 10 minutes of this [the incident] the officer was put on administrative leave and his badge and gun were taken and he was sent home," said Chief Wilson.

KSLA News 12 obtained a copy of a letter the officer wrote to the chief apologizing and saying he was ashamed of himself.  In it he writes, "I will live with that mistake for a long time."