A Hartford emergency dispatcher has been suspended without pay after making a racial slur in a police radio dispatch, according to the office of Mayor Pedro Segarra.
An Aug. 1 hearing found that Andrew Nichols, Emergency Telecommunications Dispatcher for the city of Hartford, violated the department’s workplace violence policy for making a racist comment in a radio broadcast.
On July 22, Nichols was caught on tape saying, “That’s going to be 198 Fairfield Avenue, an argument with a n*****, a neighbor over a trash can.”
Ericka Mitchell of Hartford said the dispatch was related to an argument between a landlord and an African American resident.
According to the office of the mayor, Nichols’ unpaid suspension will begin Friday, Aug. 2 and last for five days. He must attend cultural diversity training upon returning to work.
Nichols was put on paid leave Wednesday, July 24 while the incident was being investigated.
State NAACP representatives met with city officials on July 30 to discuss the incident.
Policy changes are taking effect – all Emergency Services and Telecommunications employees are now required to attend diversity training, according to the mayor's office.
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said in a statement:
"It is my strong desire that we undertake a serious discussion and training of all our employees so as to prevent this conduct. As a person who has been subjected to hate speech based on my race and sexual orientation on several occasions, I will not tolerate this behavior. Some will argue that the discipline was too harsh or too lenient: our focus should now be on achieving a work force that is respectful of all and eradicating racism and discrimination in all its ugly forms."
A similar situation happened just months ago when a police sergeant broadcast racial slurs while driving through the North End of Hartford. The sergeant was put on permanent desk duty.