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'It was meant to be funny,' says police officer fired for racist Facebook post

20-year Fort Lauderdale police veteran appeals termination

Fort Lauderdale police Officer Jeffrey Feldewert was fired by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department after exchanging racially-charged comments on Facebook.
Fort Lauderdale police Officer Jeffrey Feldewert was fired by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department after exchanging racially-charged comments on Facebook.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – When asked why he commented on a Facebook post about black suspects with the words "typical hood rat behavior," Fort Lauderdale police Officer Jeffery Feldewert said it wasn't a racist message.

"What did you mean by hood rat?" internal affairs Sgt. Cecil Stone asked Feldewert in an audiotaped interview.

"People who seem to wake up in the morning with the sole purpose of creating chaos and mayhem," answered Feldewert.

"Does that apply to a particular race of people?" Stone asked.

"No," Feldewert said.

"Would it apply to black people?" Stone asked.

"It can," Feldewert said.

The 20-year veteran was fired after the department learned of that Facebook comment, which was accompanied by a photograph of white officers arresting a black suspect with the words, "Black people: Because without them the evening news wouldn't be as fun to watch."

Monday, Local 10 News obtained the audiotape of Feldewert's internal affairs interview.

"What does that mean?" asked Stone.

"It means that generally on the news black people seem to be front and center on committing some sort of crime," Feldewert said. "And the news media seem to always be harping on it."

Feldewert said he was going for a laugh with the post.

"It was supposed to get a chuckle," he said. "It was meant to be funny."

Corin Ercolano, who replied to the original post with disgust, found no humor in any of it and said it was scary that someone who would post such things on Facebook shouldn't be a cop.

"I'm not an African-American and I was still offended," she said.

Feldewert also defended his use of an image depicting a skull with a Fort Lauderdale Police Department badge and the partially-concealed words "Savage Hunter," a term also used in a racist video that was used as part of the case against four other Fort Lauderdale officers who lost their jobs in March. Three were fired and one quit.

"It's people who act uncivilized -- (the) criminal element -- and we hunt them," Feldewert said.

"When you say we, what are you referring to?" Stone said.

"The police," Feldewert replied.

When Feldewert said he considered all criminals as "savages," Stone posed the question of someone stealing a soda from a supermarket.

"Do you see that person as being a savage?" asked the sergeant.

"Yes," answered Feldewert, who is appealing his firing.

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