BREAKING: Boca fires police sergeant over 'racially offensive comments'

2018-03-09 | The Palm Beach Post

March 09--BOCA RATON -- A Boca Raton police sergeant has been fired after the department concluded he made "racially offensive comments" and was guilty of "other misconduct."

Jeremy Codling was dismissed this week following an investigation that lasted nearly nine months, the department said Friday afternoon in a statement.

A call to a telephone number listed for Codling was not returned. He was hired by the city in May 2005 and spent his entire career with the city.

According to the department's internal-affairs division, a black officer said in June 2017 that Codling, 40, had "expressed racial biases toward African-Americans" and said he believed Codling's racial biases played a role in the May 2017 resignation of another officer.

"We have no tolerance for offensive or derogatory comments, including those of a racial nature," the department said. "We will remain committed to an environment free of any form of harassment."

According to the report, the black officer, Carl Desir, told investigators that while at a rifle range in 2015, someone had suggested taking some blue tarps from a storage area. Desir said Codling had said something close to, "I thought black people were the ones who were always stealing things."

Another sergeant said he told Codling that his comments weren't funny and that he needed to stop.

The investigative report said Desir claimed that during and after an explosives-training exercise, Codling used a racist slur and also made disparaging remarks about the contractor supplying the explosives, who was Jewish and was accompanied by a black man whom Codling said must be his chauffeur. Codling denied the comments, the report said.

Desir is married to police officer Jessica Desir, a department spokeswoman.

Later, the report said, Codling traded offensive texts with other officers.

The report concluded Codling engaged in "conduct unbecoming an officer" and lied when he said he didn't recall his remarks. The investigation did not sustain allegations of improper remarks by other officers.

According to department records, Codling received multiple commendations for work by himself and others.

One was for helping with a murder arrest, one for helping to catch an alleged serial armed robber, two for solving burglaries, one for working security at a national governors' conference in 2012, one for his courtesy to a woman whose husband had died, and one for conducting police tours and participating in career days.

Codling also was cited for a 2006 minor "at fault" crash in a department car.

In evaluations, on a scale of 0 to 5, he received a 3.25 in 2012, a 4.55 in 3024, a 4.74 in 2014, a 4.84 in 2015, and a 4.74 in 2016. Records show he was officer of the month in March 2013.