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Police officer violated department policy, Norman Police Department concludes in internal investigation

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A Norman Police Department squad car sits outside the police department March 31, 2018. 

The Norman Police Department’s investigation of a police officer that emailed coworkers racist imagery from a popular movie has resulted in “a sustained allegation of violation of department policy,” according to a Wednesday afternoon report. 

According to the statement, Norman Police Chief Kevin Foster sustained a violation of an NPD policy regarding prohibited speech, expression and conduct and administered discipline. The discipline was determined based on facts of the incident discovered during the investigation as well as feedback from the Norman Citizens Advisory Board. 

On May 5, Norman police officer Jacob McDonough responded with screenshots of a movie scene with racist imagery to an email notifying all officers that custom-made masks are available. McDonough sent out a department-wide apology email, and Foster sent the department’s internal affairs department a request for an internal investigation of the incident later that day. 

The Norman Citizens Advisory Board said in a Friday statement that the internal investigation followed police department policy and was “expeditious.” 

“Our advisory board is challenged with the responsibility of dealing with the review of NPD procedures, investigative processes, and results and is not intended to determine if the officer’s email was or was not racist in nature,” Norman Citizens Advisory Board chairperson Stacy Bruce said in the statement. “This is a difficult task to do considering the email sent. A recommendation to the Chief of Police, from the advisory board, was that perhaps the officer should have been suspended with pay while the investigation was being conducted. Regardless, up to this point, we believe NPD has responded in accordance to policy and due process was followed. We are eager to see NPD issue McDonough’s disciplinary action and are hopeful that our recommendations will be considered.”

In accordance with Oklahoma State Law, details regarding the nature of the discipline will not be released to the public, according to the Norman Police Department statement.

Ari Fife is the OU Daily summer editor-in-chief and a sophomore journalism major minoring in international studies and political science. Previously, she served as a senior news reporter and was an SGA beat reporter.

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