An Edgewater police sergeant off the job after an investigation determined he and another officer exchanged "derogatory and racist" text messages reiterated Thursday that he is not a racist.
- 2 Edgewater Police officers resign over group texts
- Investigation: Texts were of 'derogatory and racist nature'
- Texts and 'memes' included N-word, looters, stealing shoes
Sgt. Matthew Snyder and Officer William Wetherell resigned over the group texts sent Sept. 12, said an internal affairs investigation completed last week.
In an interview at his home, Snyder reiterated what he told police department investigators: that he is not a racist, and in the group text, he thought it was funny to share what they deemed a joke.
Some of the text messages reportedly included the N-word, mocking comments about looters and stealing shoes.
The group texts, screen shots of which were turned over to department supervisors, contained "memes" with racist statements such as "this just in no work boots were stolen in the looting."
I spoke to former #edgewater Sgt. Matthew Snyder abt racist comments that led to him and another officer's resignation. Why he tells me he said those things and his apology on @MyNews13 pic.twitter.com/DOiaStAOEW— Brittany (@BrittanyJNews13) December 21, 2017
Wetherell's alleged reply read, "because black people don't steal things for work." Then Snyder says, "that's how you starve them. hid their paychecks under their work boots."
One meme sent said, "Black looters matter," an apparent reference to the Black Lives Matter grass-roots movement working to curb violence and racism against African-Americans.
Snyder said he resigned because what he did was wrong.
"They're absolutely true. I can't take back what I wrote. What I did write was absolutely wrong," Snyder said. "There's nothing I can say or do. There's no excuse. I'm not going to be a politician and try to make an excuse when I know it was absolutely wrong, and I take full responsibility for it."
But, "(In) no way, shape or form am I a racist," Snyder said. "I belong to United Church of Christ. I hope they're OK with me saying that. It's an open and affirming church. I'm not going to do the 'oh, I have black friends' type of thing, you know, I do have black friends. I have friends of all minorities, all races, all everything."
In an interview at his home Thursday, Matthew Snyder said he sent the racist text messages but he underscored he was not a racist. (Brittany Jones, staff)
Snyder said he had been with the department for seven years and was a recovering alcoholic. He had been on leave prior to the investigation.
When confronted with the texts by investigators, Wetherell and Snyder asked to resign.
Snyder said this is a common practice of officers within that department.
Police Captain Joe Maloney said they checked both the sgt. and officer's records, and he said their arrests and citation stats didn't display any racial targeting since 2011. He said no other complaints about this type of incidents have been reported to the department.