An Anderson, Indiana Police Department dispatcher has been suspended with pay after racist and other offensive content was found on his MySpace page. Full story published by the Anderson Herald-Bulletin and aired by WRTV Channel 6 and WISH Channel 8 (which leads to a Topix forum), both in Indianapolis.
Anderson Police Chief Darron Sparks confirmed that dispatcher Brady Lewis had been placed on paid leave on Tuesday February 26th, 2008, pending the outcome of an internal inquiry. “We will be working with the city attorney to find out what needs to be done,” Sparks said. “There are some freedom of speech issues that we have to handle the right way.”
An Indianapolis television station, WRTV Channel 6, was the first to report this story. However, their methods were absolutely despicable. Somehow they found out about the website, informed the Anderson Polce Department, then reported the story early Wednesday morning. They claim that Lewis’ MySpace page featured profane language, racially charged words and other language that might be considered offensive to women.
Lewis, also a reserve officer for the Edgewood Police Department, has lost that job, as well. “I was shocked a little bit. It’s not my kind of humor,” Edgewood Police Chief Martin Stanley told WRTV. When Stanley confronted Lewis, the dispatcher said the page was a joke meant for friends and that he never intended to share it publicly, at which time Stanley asked him to turn in his badge. Among the content found on the page is a Care Bears-style character wearing a swastika (pictured upper left).
However, Lewis is not completely out of pocket. In addition to his dispatch and reserve-officer duties, Lewis is part-owner of Sundaze Tanning in Edgewood and a business called Spanish 4 Emergencies out of his Anderson home. On a website related to the business, Lewis identifies himself as a reserve officer and police dispatcher in Anderson, Ind.
According to Anderson Police Department officials, Lewis, who has been with the department for four years, has had no disciplinary issues. According to public information officer Joel Sandefur, Lewis has functioned very well in his job.
Two people have posted on the Herald-Bulletin forum in Lewis' defense, one identified as Lewis' brother:
Brady is my brother and I can assure everyone that he is a good man who works extremely hard to provide a good life for his wife and beautiful daughter. Most importantly, he is in no way, shape, or form racist! He has a black brother-in-law and bi-racial nieces and a nephew! The "offensive" references on his myspace page were a joke, and in no way reflect his true beliefs. And besides, whatever happened to freedom of speech? Sounds to me like somebody just wanted to cause problems for Brady.
Posting date 2/27/2008 11:49 AM
Posted by Lindsey
I know Brady and know that he is anything but a racist. He is a hardworking family man who is well liked and admired by everyone who knows him. I'm curious about the ethics behind running such an inflammatory story about someone without speaking to them personally, or anyone who knows them. It seems to me that the only objective for running a story like this is to grab attention for the Herald Bulletin. This isn't news, it's a smear campaign.
Posting date 2/27/2008 1:07 PM
Posted by Christy
So apparently, Brady Lewis is not only not a racist, but he has a sister who's a "mudshark". Yet that doesn't matter to the anti-racist terrorists. I have to wonder if the despicable One People's Project has something with outing him. OPP has worked with MySpace admininstrators to out MySpace sites they deem "racist", exposing their operators to the public, and costing them their jobs.
However, the real villain here is WRTV Channel 6. There was no real story here; there was absolutely no reason for them to go running to Lewis' boss and jeopardizing his job just to get headlines. This is the type of conduct which promotes hatred of the mass media. The job of the media is to report the news, not to make the news. WRTV clearly crossed the line. If you are also outraged at WRTV's behavior, you can click HERE to get to their contact page and send them an e-mail. I suggest choosing the News Director as the recipient.