- The Washington Times - Friday, April 13, 2001

D.C. Police Chief Chuck Ramsey was curious how his guys and gals in blue were using the departments patrol car computers, so he ordered an audit. What he found was what any nosey employer would probably find: some employees using offensive language via e-mail. However, instead of handling the incidents in-house, Chief Ramsey has decided to make a federal case of the matter.

The internal audit found that of the 4 million or so e-mail messages sent in 1999 and 2000, a tiny fraction (that is several hundred) contained offensive or derogatory words. Some of the electronic messages talked about officers´ private lives, and some talked about their bosses. Some talked about civilians, and some mentioned fellow officers. For example, Assistant Chief Terrance Gainer paraphrased one e-mail as saying, "I feel like going out and punching whitey today." Another, he said, was "Let´s stop that person because he´s dating a white girl."

Will Chief Ramsey and the U.S. Justice Department, which is now investigating the department´s investigation, distinguish between what is offensive and what is a firing offense. Will they waste taxpayer money on sensitivity training? Or will they join the forces of modern-day political correctness and clamp down on free speech?

The chief, with Mayor Williams´ blessings, has vowed to be merciless if any officer broke the law. "My goal," the chief said the other day, "is not to rehabilitate them. My goal is to fire them." The chief has already made a few bad calls. The most egregious is his own biased policies, which includes holding court with blacks one day, and women another, and still separate meetings with people who share sexual orientations. "Whites" have not been inked in just yet. Nor is there any word whether the Inuits will have to share the chief´s time with the Eskimos.

Of course, defense attorneys have established their own lucrative agenda in wake of the defamatory e-mails. As far as they are concerned there surely must be evidence to exonerate - by way of civil rights violations (racial profiling alert) - some black or transgender defendant. Or perhaps a black transgender defendants. Then, after that case clears the criminal docket, it could be reincarnated in civil court in the form of So-and-So vs. the Metropolitan Police Department.

Indeed, Chief Ramsey´s snooping has opened a very large and very nasty can of worms that even he concedes has already become overwhelming. However, he hasn´t heard or seen anything yet. In factg, he has become a sounding board for divisive voices that would rather yell "victim" than "police."

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