A police officer in Bartow, Florida, resigned after he called a gay man who called for help, a “f’king f*ggott.”
Tyron Smith, who works as a program manager of the George Harris Youth Shelter, called police after a 12-year-old boy with a “history of unruly behavior” pulled the fire alarm at the shelter when there was no fire.
Smith told the responding officer, Timothy Daughtry, he wanted the boy arrested for the first-degree misdemeanor to demonstrate that there are consequences to his actions.
Daughtry told Smith the suggested punishment was too extreme.
According to a report by the internal affairs investigation led by Detective Kenneth Fender, the discussion escalated into an argument when Smith—who is African American—told the officer that the boy would have already been handcuffed if he was Black.
Gay man called police for help; responding officer called him a “fuc*ing fa**ot” / Interim Chief Bryan Dorman stated he would have fired Officer Timothy Daughtry had he not stepped down from his position https://t.co/hHGW1JyG8W
— Reformed Bully (@ReformedBully) September 17, 2020
Daughtry told Fender that Smith’s comment upset him because he thought issues pertaining to race and people of color were irrelevant.
“That made me upset. I said, ‘well that’s f’king bullsh*t’, you know. I said ‘shut the f’k up’.”
“At that point, Sarge told me to be quiet and to walk away—to get in the car. And as I was walking away, I said, ‘F’king f*ggott’ and then I got in my vehicle.”
Something I found interesting about this is that – it's a pathetic argument & I don't support his use of the slur or any type of name-calling – he said he didn't know it was a slur, that he used it, "like saying ‘Well that's gay.’" ALSO WRONG TO DO. 1/2https://t.co/PIOa0zuSAs
— Laura Davis (@lauradavis) September 16, 2020
We shouldn’t have to worry about anyone judging us or call names
— alan (@alan17947044) September 17, 2020
Interim Chief Bryan Dorman told The Ledger that he would have fired Daughtry had he not stepped down on September 9.
Dorman wrote in a report:
“It took the action of your supervisor to separate you from the complainant in order to gain control of your investigative scene.”
“Even after being separated, you continued, and used a derogatory slur directly toward the complainant, specifically ‘f’king f*ggott.'”
“Regardless of you recognizing the complainant as gay, you used profane language and a pejorative term directly toward someone who was asking police for assistance.”
The Interim Chief cited the following four department policies that Daughtry had violated:
“Conduct unbecoming an officer, discourteous or profane language, insubordination, and making statements that reflect adversely on the department.”
“To engage in an argument with a member of the community and to use an LGBTQ slur during that argument is unacceptable by anyone, especially a member of the law enforcement community.”
“I will not tolerate that type of behavior from any member of this organization.”
Daughtry downplayed the use of the anti-gay epithet as “just a term that I’ve used growing up, throughout life” and also claimed he was not aware of Smith’s sexual orientation.
Gay man called police for help; responding officer called him a “fuc*ing fa**ot”
And the officer defended his behavior by saying it was a term he grew up using.
And of course it is in FL. https://t.co/Gcz01ufVNa
— S.J. Martin-Bennet (@sj_martin) September 16, 2020
"just a term I've used growing up".
So, he hasn't grown up yet.
— Aunt Nanci (@Hedjie) September 16, 2020
“It’s no different than if I was to say ‘Well that’s gay.’ It’s not, it’s just a term for disdainment, for a particular situation.”
In his interview with Fender, Smith confirmed he was gay and said he was offended by Daughtry’s remark.
Smith also described himself as someone who is obviously gay and that the officer should have recognized that, which implied that Daughtry’s use of the slur was deliberate.