DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Two white sheriff's deputies accused of exchanging racially charged text messages on their personal phones have been put on leave, and three more officers are under investigation, a southwest Ohio sheriff said.
Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer said employees "tarnished the office" by sending messages that included racial slurs and comments directed at two black deputies, The Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/1yUpCA6 ) reported.
"The N-word was used several times as well as other racial slurs and jokes," the sheriff said. "Racism will not be tolerated in this office."
Plummer said the messages were sent between November 2011 and January 2013, sometimes while the deputies were on duty. They might be in violation of the department conduct code signed by all employees, which instructs them not to express racial prejudice or act in a derogatory manner.
An anonymous source provided the texts to the Dayton NAACP in August, and it investigated to confirm the messages' authenticity before bringing them to the sheriff's attention last week, said Derrick Foward, the local NAACP president.
"We cannot tolerate anybody who harbors hate, and they are supposed to be out here protecting us," he said.
The deputies on leave are a captain and a detective who have worked at the department for 15 years and have no previous disciplinary issues, he said.
"They were in two important positions here," Plummer said. "I needed to take them out of the mix while we conduct an internal investigation."
Two court security deputies and a dispatch center sergeant are also under investigation, Plummer said.
Information from: Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com