Archive for Sunday, June 30, 2002

Topeka officers disciplined

Chief punishes 12 for ‘racial incidents’

June 30, 2002

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— Twelve Topeka police officers have been disciplined after an investigation into a major's complaint about racial attitudes within the department.

The discipline ranged from informal counseling to unpaid suspension in connection with "five specific allegations of racial incidents," according to a news release from the Topeka Police Department.

Topeka Police Chief Ed Klumpp "handled all the discipline personally" and finished informing officers of their punishment Friday, said Lt. John Sidwell, a police spokesman. Sidwell would not describe the officers or their punishment further.

Three weeks ago, Mayor Butch Felker announced during a news conference that 12 officers were to be disciplined for what he called "racially insensitive conduct." Klumpp then began reviewing case files and deciding on punishment.

The actions stemmed from a joint investigation by the City Attorney's Office and the Police Department into racism allegations brought to light in a formal complaint filed by Maj. Mike Padilla, the Police Department's highest-ranking Hispanic officer.

Padilla complained of an e-mail sent to all police officers by a detective warning that with an increase in the Hispanic population in the city, officers could expect an increase in bribery attempts. Other incidents involved the use of ethnic slurs by white officers.

Along with the discipline, Sidwell said the department was taking steps to promote officers' racial sensitivity.

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