Hamilton Co. Jail Sergeant responds to racial slur incident that got him suspended

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CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office has suspended a sergeant for using a racial slur.

Sgt. George Jackson works in the Hamilton County Jail.

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Department officials say last month, Jackson used the slur twice with a fellow employee who he had worked with for years.

He has already completed his suspension and mandatory disciplinary action.

Jackson says he meant it as a joke.

The Times Free Press reported that when he told her the joke, she went to ask how for file a complaint.

He then came into the room, so she asked him to repeat it to other officers, who laughed.

The second telling was captured on surveillance video and used in the Internal Affairs report.

Jackson sent us a statement on his side of the story. We are posting it in full.

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“The story published in the Times Free Press today (01/17/17) concerns an incident from November 2016 between myself and a coworker. I would consider her not only a colleague but a friend. Her mother has made breakfast for us on a couple of occasions during weekend tours of duty and I have accepted packages at my home for her.

Her and I have played jokes on several colleagues and one another. We have always been there for one another; to answer one another’s questions and to help one another with any problem, professionally or personally, we have wanted to share with the other.

In November I made a comment that offended my friend and colleague. At the moment she did not tell me it offended her. Instead we laughed and when around other colleagues she retold the story and asked me to say it again. I did and again we all laughed. Both of those moments were captured on video.

Nonetheless, I later was informed I had offended her. While I was shocked that a friend would not come to me and address this personally, I can do nothing about that. However, I can address my actions and change them. We are all held to a standard of professionalism. The Sheriff has met with me and clearly laid out his expectation of professional standards.

I am thankful for all the officers (African American, Hispanic, Caucasian) that testified to my character, and to the humor myself and Ms. White have shared with one another and others. This was left out of the Times Free Press article. Those officers see us on a daily basis and not an isolated incident.

I have since met with Ms. White and apologized. We see one another on a regular basis and are cordial. She remains someone that I respect and would do anything in my ability to assist. Her and her family remain in our family’s prayers as she has said the same to me. I hope in time we can once again have the professional friendship we once shared.”

George Jackson