Police respond to video questioning racial sensitivity

A video making the rounds on social media is calling a local police officer’s racial sensitivity into question.

The video was taken outside the Brickhouse nightclub in Paducah over the weekend. The person who shot the video says a police officer used a racially insensitive slur. You do not hear the officer say the word in the video, but the officer responds to questioning that he did say it.

Paducah police say the officers were responding to a complaint. As for why his officer used an offensive word, Paducah Police Chief Brandon Barnhill says his officer responded to a question about why they were there, and that’s when the officer used the offensive word.

Barnhill says the officer repeated what someone else said to the officer when they first got there. Barnhill says the officer should not have used the word, and they are addressing that with him. 

The police chief says his department is taking this seriously, but says the officer did not use the word to be offensive.

Barnhill says: “Should this be something that was a racial slur meant to be in a derogatory fashion, that would be handled much differently. We will not tolerate that. However, we do have to support the officers. When the officers don’t do anything wrong — essentially meaning the racial slur was not used in a derogatory fashion, it was not intended to be malicious — I’m going to support that officer.”

Barnhill told me as part of his investigation, he consulted with his chief’s community forum last night. It’s a group of pastors and educators in the area to help give police perspective on racial issues. Barnhill said all five members who were present at the last night’s last minute meeting agreed the officer did not intend to be malicious.

Washington Street Baptist Church Pastor Raynaldo Henderson posted on Facebook about the meeting and the video. Henderson says he agrees the officer did not maliciously use the slur. He says: “If we are going to make progress in this area of race relations and reconciliation, we must be honest and transparent.”

I did reach out to both the person who filmed the video and the owner of Brickhouse, but I have not heard back yet.

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