Krista Deans

‘I'm Not a Racist': Arbitration Hearing Continues for Ex-Cop Accused of Sending Racist Texts

A second hearing was held Tuesday as a former Fort Lauderdale Police officer, accused of sending racists text messages, tries to get his job back.

"In my heart, I know I'm not racist," Jason Holding said during his arbitration hearing, fighting back tears.

Holding was among a group of four police officers from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department who was fired after it was revealed they had been circulating offensive text messages and a video.

Holding insists the messages he sent, including many with the N-word and illustrations, were not racist.

Holding said one text, "I'd have the noose ready," was not about lynching someone, it was about harming himself if his police car was rammed by a suspect. In general, Holding seemed baffled that he lost his job.

"I'm not a racist, never have been a racist, never will be a racist," he said.

What about a text that read: "Crazy N-----?" He said it was directed at another officer. "It was a term of endearment," he said.

Holding's case was bolstered by the appearance of his girlfriend, who is African-American.

But Police Chief Frank Adderly said it's an open and shut situation, there's no doubt Holding violated the police code of ethics, gave the department a black eye, and betrayed the community's trust.

"If we do not have the trust of our community that we serve, there is no way that we can do this job effectively," Chief Adderly said.

In addition, the State Attorney's Office said they had to drop at least ten of Holding's cases because defense attorneys would have a field day labeling the arresting officer as racially biased.

"Whatever happens here today, I just want to make it clear that I'm not a racist," Holding said.

Of the four police officers involved in this case, one resigned, one accepted the termination, one lost at arbitration and Holding is the last one trying to get his job back. The results of the hearing won't be known for several weeks.

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