Cop sues police department over racist cartoon

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SAN DIEGO -- A cartoon more than 100 years old has sparked race allegations and a lawsuit against the city, filed this week by police sergeant Arthur Scott.

According to the lawsuit, the cartoon from the early 1900s was passed out during a police training class in August.

The cartoon, which depicts San Diego's first black police officer Frank McCarter, gives him an ape-like appearance and also takes a racial tone toward Asians.

Sgt. Bryan Pendleton, a leader with the National Black Police Officers Association, also attended the training session with Scott.

“I understood the context the picture was being presented," Pendleton said. "I was somewhat offended, but maybe not to the level Art was. I’m sure there were different degrees of people being offended by it."

According to Scott's attorney, Dan Gilleon, the 10-year SDPD veteran complained about the cartoon after the class and said it should be removed from training materials.

Two weeks later, Scott discussed the issue with Assistant Chief Todd Jarvis.

“At first, the chief tried to defend this cartoon – 'this is our first black officer.' Sgt. Scott says, ‘no, that’s an ape and there’s nothing right about this cartoon,'" Gilleon said. "That’s when Jarvis sits back in his chair and just stares at my client and ends the conversation. At that point, Sgt. Scott knew that he was going to face this retaliation.”

The lawsuit claims 43-year-old Scott was punished for speaking out by forcing him to transfer from the department's Southeastern to Central Division.

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8 comments

  • Mikey

    Please. Why is everything so serious now. It’s a joke. Being a cop you think this guy would have more dignity, that crying like a little b*tch

  • Paul

    It’s history Dude! Let it go. That is the way that the caricatures of Black people were drawn back then, and, no, it doesn’t look like an Ape. Get over yourself. I am far from ‘racist’, but it looks to me like you’re looking for an easy buck here. File a complaint and get on with your life. This was a CARTOON in a newspaper article about the first Black police officer in San Diego, not a racial slur for the times…… 107 years ago! Things were different then and have improved greatly since. Don’t listen to Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson or Barack Obama.

  • Ol' Skool

    What’s the point of distributing an obviously racist cartoon regardless of age in a training seminar NOT focused on race relations? If the focus of the seminar was to demonstrate how the SDPD has progressed in the area of race relations over the past century, then handing out such an image would be completely appropriate….but that doesn’t seem to be the case. If indeed the distribution was as arbitrary as it appears to be (based on initial reports) there’s absolutely no excuse for it…….though I’m certain some of you will certainly try.

    • Rex Smith

      Why show it? For the same reason you still show video of black people being attacked by police dogs in the South simply because they asked for the right to vote or sit at a lunch counter. Because it’s ugly, and its history and if you ever want to say “never again” you need to be repulsed enough by what you saw not to ever abandon your convictions.

      The cartoon is obviously of a time we cannot possibly imagine. If that were socially acceptable to run in a newspaper, what bravery did Officer McCarter show in still showing up to work? It’s one thing to say he’s a hero. It’s another to prove it. That cartoon proves Officer McCarter had more guts than me and probably you. I would have quit. What about you Superman?

  • Joshua

    I bet this Officer want schools to stop teaching about Slavery and other forms of racism in our past? Sounds like a money grab.

  • Freddy

    Hey Sgt. Scott….why don’t you explain to us how you made Sgt. on merit and Law enforcement knowledge and skill and not because the SDPD promoted you because there was a need to fill a black Sgt position that was recently vacated by one who either retired or was promoted to Lt…..You people make me sick.100 years this material was used in training and you’re offended? A little thin in the skin huh? What happens when a criminal calls you a monkey, a pig or a lousy piece of Zhit? Doesn’t that offend you too? Who do you run to then? I bet you’ve never used that lovely saying that only offends black people unless you’re calling another black person right? Rhymes with tigger…..

  • TrueCitizen

    two people view a work of art differently, is this the artists fault? someone drew me as a stick figure and do I sue them because I happen to be bulimic or do I move on because stick figures are common?

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