Complaint by Charlie Perry Alleging Racism by Chief of Police is Dismissed
NEW BEDFORD - The state has dismissed a complaint filed by New Bedford police officer and mayoral candidate Charlie Perry alleging racist practices by Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro.
In records obtained by WBSM News, Perry filed the complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination following a chain of events within the New Bedford Police Department earlier this year.
According to the complaint, Chief Cordeiro had sent a department-wide email in January of this year which contained a quote by President Theodore Roosevelt which read, "This year I will be stronger, braver, kinder, and unstoppable. This year I will be FIERCE!"
In the complaint, Perry describes Roosevelt as a bigot, saying Roosevelt once called the Japanese "slant-eyed yellow bastards." Perry says Roosevelt is also associated with the infamous "White Man's Burden," and wrote in the complaint that Cordeiro's usage of a Theodore Roosevelt quote offended him as a black man.
Perry responded to Cordeiro's email, saying, "Everything seems black and white in this world, but it's all about power. The power to be in place to do good, bad or ugly is truly the sovereignty. B&W is just token colors on token faces to keep the power from having dirty hands when sweeping the powerless. Cowardly kicking the use of B&W things. Charles Perry, Jr."
Two days later, Chief Cordeiro sent out another email, this time with an inspirational quote from Marianne Williamson: "In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is power to do it."
Later that morning, Perry again responded to Cordeiro in an email which was sent to the entire police department, this time saying, "All of your quotes are a bunch of bull(expletive)."
Perry reported to human resources on April 5 that he was offended by Cordeiro's emails.
A police department internal affairs investigation found Perry had violated the department's computer usage and social media policy with his profane response to Chief Cordeiro. Perry was suspended for one day.
Perry filed the complaint with MCAD on April 24, citing racial discrimination as the cause of his suspension.
MCAD's investigation revealed there had been eight such incidents in the past three years involving inappropriate social media conduct. MCAD found the incidents led to the suspension of ten white officers.
MCAD dismissed the complaint on September 30, citing a lack of probable cause.
Perry has the right to appeal the state's decision.
WBSM News contacted Perry for comment to MCAD's finding. Perry referred the News Department to a status on his personal Facebook page.
Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro released the following statement in response to Perry's complaint and MCAD's findings:
"I am disappointed by these baseless allegations, which the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination have dismissed. I have dedicated my career to equality for every resident of New Bedford, especially in the last 16 months as chief, and have fostered positive community relations in our commitment towards a City of One. The New Bedford Police Department prides itself on equality and does not tolerate discrimination in any form."