Pennsylvania police officer fired for 'racist and derogatory' email about Black people, journalists and politicians

A longtime Pennsylvania police officer was fired Thursday after sending a "racist and derogatory" email to the mayor and local news reporters.
Erie Mayor Joe Schember announced the firing of 62-year-old Sgt. Jeff Annunziata at a press conference, alongside Police Chief Dan Spizarny. In his email, Annunziata said Black people seeking social justice “cannot take care of their own or anyone else without playing the race card.” He also defended his profession and criticized journalists.
“Sgt. Jeff Annunziata sent an email to members of the media containing racist and derogatory statements,” Schember said. “I condemn these statements. I am appalled and disgusted by the racial insensitivity of this email.”
The Erie Times-News of the USA TODAY Network first reported the contents of Annunziata's email about six hours before Schember’s announcement.
This is an August 2006 file photo of then-Cpl. Jeff Annunziata of the Erie Bureau of Police on the scene of a traffic accident in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Spizarny said he immediately suspended Annunziata after an internal affairs investigation found he had sent the email from his city account and identified himself as a police officer.
“I speak for the command staff when I say that we are all sickened by the language of Mr. Annunziata,” Spizarny said.
The city’s solicitor, Ed Betza, said Annunziata was not working when he sent the email, adding the union representing city police, Erie Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 7, has 10 days to challenge Annunziata’s termination.

“It’s their legal right to do so,” Betza said.
Annunziata, the chief traffic investigator for Erie police and a 34-year veteran of the police bureau, earned an annual base pay of $103,631, according to city records.
He sent his email shortly before 7 p.m. Monday, the same day Schember had announced that another Erie police officer who kicked a seated protester would receive three days unpaid suspension and be required to undergo sensitivity training.
In his email, Annunziata also claimed that citizens “do not understand compliance;” asserted that most police officers try to avoid confrontation; suggested without evidence that the Clinton Foundation and billionaire George Soros are funding Black Lives Matter and antifa; and mentioned that Erie officer Richard Burchick was shot and killed in 1991 by a Black man.
“Why are the facts ignored about the killing in this country and how small, the minute numbers of Police officers that kill a black man in the line of duty?” Annunziata wrote.
“There is not one police officer that I have met around the country that seeks out controversy instead of an agreement NOT ONE,” Annunziata wrote.
Annunziata also questioned in his email why reporters “do not report on the officers in this city that were injured trying to protect what people have built. You as reporters have a responsibility to report the whole story not the part you want to report for your own satisfaction and that of unnecessary movements.”
The Times-News reported June 10 that one of the 14 city police officers injured during downtown rioting in late May had suffered a serious knee injury and would be out of work for an extended time.
Annunziata, in his email, asked “where is the protest” for police officers murdered nationwide and mentioned the Confederate flag, saying that prohibiting someone from displaying it is a First Amendment violation.
Addressing Schember, Annunziata wrote: “Mr. mayor how many officers need to be hurt before you speak out.” He also wrote “The ‘deep state’ media, reporters are responsible and the ‘radical’ liberal politicians are right behind them.”
Annunziata ended his email by writing that police officers “always look for a peaceful resolution, but when we are confronted with dissension, weapons of all kinds and argument we have a job to do and hopefully with peaceful results. As we know this does not happen when a law is broken and the suspect or citizen does not understand what they have done, was done wrong and against the law.”
Erie City Councilman Michael Keys, who is Black, reviewed Annunziata’s email at the request of the Times-News.
“What strikes me is that there’s absolutely no empathy in that email for the people who have been disproportionately affected by police brutality and systemic structural racism,” Keys said.

Pennsylvania police officer fired for 'racist and derogatory' email about Black people, journalists and politicians Pennsylvania police officer fired for 'racist and derogatory' email about Black people, journalists and politicians Reviewed by Your Destination on June 19, 2020 Rating: 5

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