The Albany Police Department has announced plans to fire an officer on its force after he was recorded calling Black people “the worst f__ing race” during a conversation with a county sheriff’s deputy.
According to the Times Union, Officer David W. Haupt, who has been on the city’s police force since 2016, was handed a 30-day suspension on November 11 pending investigation after the recording was uncovered by the sheriff’s department during a routine department review of body camera footage. The footage in question was recorded by the body camera of the sheriff’s deputy he was having the conversation with. The footage was handed over to the Albany County district attorney’s office, and they subsequently gave it to the city’s police department to investigate on November 12.
Responding to the recording, the city’s Black police chief, Eric Hawkins, said Haupt’s comments was one of the most “shocking and appalling” things he had heard in his 30-year career as a law enforcement officer.
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“It’s inappropriate; it does not reflect the values of the men and women in this department,” Hawkins said.
The city’s mayor, Kathy Sheehan, also referred to Haupt’s comments as “blatantly racist”, adding that she expects him to be fired after investigations are concluded.
“As mayor, I wanted to ensure that this individual was not on the job until we have an understanding of what occurred here,” she said. “And that statement in and of itself can be construed no other way that being a racist statement that does not reflect the values of the Albany Police Department.”
Hawkins further revealed Haupt had completed training courses on racial diversity and workplace violence organized by the department just last month, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Though Hawkins declined releasing the November 1 footage of the incident, citing the ongoing investigations, the Times Union was able to obtain a transcript. The conversation between Haupt and the deputy took place when they were filling gas into the officer’s patrol car. The news outlet reports the body camera of the deputy may have been accidentally turned on while the two were talking.
“Literally it does get old,” the deputy said in the recording. “Because literally every day, it’s not like it’s an overwhelming 50-percent-to-50-percent shot where you get a call and they’re like, ‘Yeah, a white male — ,’ or, you know what I mean.”
Haupt responded and said: “My buddies listen to the scanner and they send me texts all the time, and they go, ‘Is the suspect ever a white male?’ and I go ‘No.’ I know it sounds terrible to say, but I don’t give a f__ what anybody says, I sincerely don’t. Because bro, they are the worst f__ing race and I don’t — you can’t deny, like, over the last X amount of months, they are — you know because we work together — they are getting worse and worse, and people are defending that. Are you f__ing kidding me?”
The unnamed deputy responded to Haupt by saying “Uh-huh” but did not say anything else afterwards. Albany County Sheriff, Craig Apple, said he’ll talk to the deputy in question though he feels the deputy’s comments in the recording does not implicate him and wouldn’t warrant any disciplinary action. He, however, said the department will undergo another sensitivity training.
Following the discovery of the video, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, Cecilia Walsh, said they’ll be reviewing all previous cases Haupt has been involved in and would reach out to defense attorneys.
Though the department has signaled its intention to terminate Haupt, he could still be on payroll if he decides to contest his dismissal due to terms of the police union contract, the Houston Chronicle reported. The arbitration process for that could also take months.