The Tempe, Arizona police department is conducting a full-scale investigation of two Tempe police officers, after city officials pulled a local show off the air following a recent segment which showed an officer telling two African-American men they could avoid getting a ticket for littering if they rapped.
According to The Arizona Republic, the investigation, which started Friday (Dec. 1) by the department’s internal affairs department, will center around the Tempe police-produced series, titled Tempe Street Beat.
It will focus on the actions of officer Brandon Banks, the show’s producer, and Sgt. Chuck Schoville.
Sgt. Schoville pulled over the two African-American men, who were not identified by authorities according to the Republic.
The officer ask the two men if they know how much the penalty is for littering.
Schoville offers the men a chance to avoid a ticket if the two men know about rap.
One of the men raps: “Yo, I just got pulled over ’cause I threw my trash out the window when they rolled over. They got behind me and pulled me over.”
“As the Chief of Police, I accept responsibility for the actions of my staff and apologize to any members of our community who were offended by this most unfortunate event,” Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff said in a written statement.
In addition to internal affairs, the city of Tempe’s diversity office will contribute to the investigation in an effort to provide out-of-department oversight, Ryff added.
The Republic reports that the review will also be examined by the Tempe citizen review board and human relations commission after it’s done.
Street Beat and other shows airing on local Channel 11 created by the police will also be looked at during the other half of the investigation, which will include the creation of checks and balances by city staff “to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Ryff stated.
In the meantime, Street Beat will not broadcast on Channel 11, and no new shows will be produced until the process is reviewed.
The officers will remain on active duty during the investigation.