Metro Atlanta police department suspends officer accused of making ‘racist remarks’, chief says

A Marietta police officer was suspended following an investigation into claims that he made racist remarks toward black officers.

Marietta Police Chief Ferrell said the department launched an internal affairs investigation into Major Patrick Bonito after two officers filed a complaint.

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According to the complaint, the officers accused Bonito of making a racist remark toward black officers under his command.

Chief Ferrell said the investigation was also launched after several anonymous social media accounts began posting about the issue.

After conducting an investigation that lasted several weeks, Chief Ferrell confirmed there was no evidence of any inappropriate actions or comments that Bonito made toward another employee.

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During the investigation, Bonito admitted to having said an “inappropriate derogatory racial term” in general that was not directed toward any employee roughly ten years ago. Officials said he also admitted to talking about that incident and his regret for it to coworkers nearly four years ago.

“Make no mistake, racism will not be tolerated by our agency, internally or externally,” Chief Ferrell said. “The Marietta Police Department takes allegations like this very seriously and we appreciate the officers who brought forward their concerns.”

Bonito was transferred to a different shift, removed from the leadership of multiple special units and suspended for 40 hours without pay. Additionally, Chief Ferrell said he would be required to attend several training classes related to what investigators found.

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It is unclear who made the social media accounts that posted about Bonito.

“We do not plan to engage anyone in those [social media] posts, and trust you can see my goal is to be as transparent as possible,” Chief Ferrell said. “Racism will not be tolerated under my command.”

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