A police sergeant won’t be disciplined for his role in a television program that showed him asking two black men to perform a rap song to get out of a littering ticket, officials said.
But after completing an administrative police review, authorities said the department would have to undergo diversity training, and the police-produced cable television show, “StreetBeat,” will be taken off the air for a few months until checks and balances can be developed.
“And hopefully it’ll never happen again,” Tempe police spokesman Jeff Lane said.
Sgt. Chuck Schoville, a 25-year department veteran, stopped the two men in August in a mall parking lot after seeing a motorist toss a paper bag from his window. The stop appeared on a segment of “StreetBeat,” which showed Schoville talking to the driver about the consequences of a littering ticket and asking the passenger to pick up the litter — as well as perform a rap song.
He also discussed football with the men, predicting the Oakland Raiders would be in the Super Bowl. The driver agreed, and Schoville said, “You know why you say I’m right? Because I’ve got a gun and badge. I’m always right. That’s the way it works, right?” Then the men laughed, and shook hands.
According to the review, the driver, Louis Baker said the exchange “made him feel violated, categorized and confused.”
Schoville did not return a phone call seeking comment.
An administrative review by the police department concluded that Schoville failed to make clear that the rap request was separate from enforcement, and the televised segment “gives the distinct appearance that Mr. Tarvin and Mr. Baker had to perform to avoid a citation,” which led the men and some community members to find the segment “inappropriate and offensive.”
Jarrett Maupin II, southwest regional director of the National Action Network, an activist group founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton, said he’s pleased “for the professionalism exhibited during the investigation.”