Prosecutors say they are dismissing dozens of cases connected to four Fort Lauderdale cops who lost their jobs after an investigation into a racist, homemade video and a text message filled with the N-word and other slurs, the Associated Press reports.
A five-month investigation launched in October led to the termination of Jason Holding, 31, James Wells, 30, and Christopher Sousa, 25. Alex Alvarez, 22, resigned in January.
The four officers, who reportedly worked in predominantly African-American neighborhoods, had been accused of exchanging racist and homophobic texts and videos, including a movie trailer made by Alvarez featuring attacks on minorities and President Barack Obama with large gold teeth. Alvarez's former fianceé filed the complaint that sparked the probe.
The Broward State Attorney's Office dropped 12 felony and 19 criminal misdemeanor cases on Thursday and one juvenile case in which one or more of the four officers were involved. Nearly 20 additional dismissals are expected, according to South Florida Sun Sentinel.
"All the defendants were Black; all the cases were dropped because at least one of the officers was the principal officer involved in the arrest," said Ron Ishoy, a spokesman for the Broward State Attorney's Office. "This is a serious matter. We continue to review each case in which these former policemen were the principal officers involved in the arrest. We are dropping charges against the defendants where it is appropriate."
Among the dismissed felony charges are burglary, cocaine possession and aggravated assault with a firearm, Ishoy added.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel also reported that the three fired officers are disputing their terminations and attempting to regain their jobs. Their arbitration hearings are scheduled for April 15.
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(Photo: Michael Francis McElroy, Sun Sentinel/MCT /Landov)