More troubling e-mails that were circulated within the Wilton Manors Police Department have now surfaced. One even went so far as to express disappointment that President Barack Obama was not killed during his inauguration.
“This came from a Marine's wife. It says it all: I sat, as did millions of other Americans, and watched as the government Under went [sic] a peaceful transition of power a year ago. At first, I felt a swell of pride and patriotism while Barack Obama took his Oath of office,” states an email titled, “Confessions of Marine’s Wife” that was sent from the account of Sgt. Peter “Pete” Bigelsen June 10 to Chief Richard E. Perez and Captain Dorris “Dee” Seibert, the department’s second highest ranking officer behind Perez.
“However, all that pride quickly vanished as I later watched 21 Marines, In full dress uniform with rifles, Fire a 21-gun salute to the President. It was then that I realized how far America's military had deteriorated. Every damn one of them missed the bastard.”
That e-mail was culled from dozens that were circulated from the police department and civil-rights advocates are expressing concern.
“The U.S. Secret Service takes threats against the President very seriously and circulating an e-mail which might incite others to conspire to assassinate the President is a very serious federal crime,” said Randy A. Fleischer, a civil and employment attorney who chairs Broward County’s Human Rights Board.
“Sending e-mails like this may also be evidence of racial bias and animus,” Fleischer said. “Such attitudes often infect other decisions, which, in this case, could show a racial bias in policing and policies. This is a very serious matter and should be investigated by the city and possibly by federal agencies.”
In keeping the agency’s long standing policy, a spokesman at the United States Secret Service headquarters in Washington, D.C., declined comment.
“We are not commenting at this time,” Secret Service spokesman Max Milien said.
Perez is not commenting either. Repeated attempts to reach Seibert and Bigelsen at police headquarters were routed to City Manager Joseph Gallegos’ office.
“As the public information officer I have been instructed to forward all questions and comments on this matter to the city manager’s office,” police spokesman Sgt. Charles Howard said in an e-mail sent to the South Florida Times.
Gallegos did not respond to questions sent by e-mail and did not return calls to his office. Instead, he issued a prepared statement saying:
“The City of Wilton Manors will not tolerate or ignore any actions by City employees that do not uphold the highest levels of respect and professionalism within our organization. At this time, with the assistance of the City Attorney, I am conducting an investigation into recent allegations regarding inappropriate emails circulated by members of the City of Wilton Manors Police Department’s Administration and have identified the steps required in the process to administer appropriate discipline to the individuals who may be involved.”
“In addition to violating specific City policies, circulation of such inappropriate emails is inconsistent with Wilton Manors’ well-known reputation for inclusion, diversity and tolerance.”
One e-mail titled “Stupid Is, As Stupid Does” shows the President and First Lady Michele Obama with their hands on their hearts, apparently during a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
“Just A Gentle Reminder. I fully believe they both know exactly what they are doing!!! Stupid is, as Stupid Does…Unbelievable. As any American knows, we place our right hand over our heart when we recite the Pledge of Allegiance,” reads the e-mail sent from Bigelsen’s account to Perez and Seibert states.
“And for anyone who thinks this may be a mirror-image picture, please note the wedding rings on the ring fingers of their LEFT HANDS and the RIGHT side of the Messiah’s suit coat where the buttons are. These two morons are so clueless, they can't possibly be Americans!”
Another email that sent from Perez’s account is titled “Oil Spill Clean Up Call.”
“When will this madness stop? I will be out of touch for several weeks starting immediately,” that e-mail states. “I have been very upset about the impending damage to the Louisiana coast that when I received the call for help in clean-up and saw the picture of the oil soaked creatures that are washing up on the beach at Grand Isle, I immediately decided to answer the call.”
Below that caption is a photograph of a nude woman sitting in the beach surf, soaked in oil.
According U.S. Census numbers from 2000, Wilton Manors has a population of 12,697; 13 percent or 1,674 of whom are black. The city also has predominantly Democratic voters.
Meanwhile, the Fort Lauderdale branch of the NAACP said it was reviewing the emails. But Brad Brown, vice-president of the Miami-Dade branch of the civil rights organizations, reacted with a single sentence.
“He [Perez] should be fired,” Brown said.
Elgin Jones may be reached at EJones@SFLTimes.com.
Pictured Above: President Barack Obama, below is Wilton Manors Police Chief Richard E. Perez, then Sgt. Peter Bigelsen.