An Orlando police officer has been fired over allegations of racial profiling that was sparked when a victim of dating violence said the officer had taken advantage of her after she called police.
Andrew Peczinka, 25, was working in the patrol division when he responded to a domestic violence call in May 2013. According to an 11-page internal affairs investigative report, Peczinka started an intimate, consensual relationship with the woman who called authorities to chase away her angry boyfriend.
Peczinka texted his method of making traffic stops to the woman, who asked him, "how do you know how people have drugs in their car, just by looking at the car?" Peczinka wrote back "flat brim hats, twisty hair, dirty beards (racial slur)... that's who you stop."
The woman then asked, "what's dirty beard (racial slur)?" to which Peczinka answered, "like unkempt facial hair, usually people that are low lifes that sell drugs and are poor ... and can't afford to shave and look nice ..."
According to the report, when Peczinka was pressed by the investigator to explain the racial slur he said, "I guess black people."
During the interview with internal affairs investigators, Peczinka explained that he and his fellow officers on the east patrol tactical squad were looking to find only large amounts of drugs, money and guns.
In one text message, Peczinka wrote, "so we got 37 grams of weed, let the guy go. The one guy had four pounds and let him go. They only want ... like kilos of coke or guns, usually all guns."
The woman complained about Peczinka after she says he accessed her personal information without her consent, kept sending her gifts and added her to his auto insurance policy against her will.
Peczinka was hired in October 2011 and was fired after the completion of the internal investigation on Nov. 21, 2013.
OPD released a statement on the investigation, saying "Chief Rooney assures the public that all employees of the Orlando Police Department are held to the high standards that are expected of their position by our community. The Orlando Police Department will not tolerate any form of discrimination or misuse of department property. Chief Rooney is committed to providing transparency relating to all matters of his department. The Orlando Police Department has always maintained the highest level of professional and courteous service and will continue to do so."
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