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    Sergeant disciplined for slur is promoted

    He's learned his lesson, the Brooksville police chief says.

    By JAMIE MALERNEE

    © St. Petersburg Times, published January 31, 2001


    BROOKSVILLE -- It's been six months since Brooksville police Sgt. Rick Shew received a day's suspension after referring to a prostitute with a racial slur.

    Now police Chief Ed Tincher says it is time to forgive and forget -- and to promote Shew to the position of second-in-command of the agency.

    Tincher said Tuesday that Shew, an acting lieutenant, is not racist and that the comment was a stupid mistake for which both apologized. Tincher says Shew has learned his lesson, and he now has full confidence in his No. 2 man both as an officer and as a gentleman.

    "I have zero tolerance for racism, and Shew has zero tolerance for racism," Tincher said Tuesday. "(The comment) will not be a hindrance."

    Shew said he sees his new position as a challenge that he is eager to accept. He says he still regrets making the comment but has always treated people equally.

    "I treat everyone fairly, no matter what the circumstances are," he said. Tincher said he thought long about the promotion and talked to several black leaders in Brooksville before he made the decision Thursday -- with their blessing.

    NAACP president Frankie Burnett did not return calls for comment on this story. Other NAACP officers also did not return calls or referred all questions to Burnett.

    NAACP member Richard Howell said he had no problems with the promotion, although he thought Shew should have received harsher punishment for the slur.

    "I felt like he should have gotten a whole lot more (punishment) back then. But now? You can't punish him forever," Howell said.

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