From The Gazette (Colorado Springs): An El Paso County sheriff’s veteran quietly retired this month after acknowledging that he used the N-word to describe President Obama, Sheriff Bill Elder said.
Uttering the racial slur brought a swift end to a 28-year career for Robert Jaworski, who according to the sheriff used the term in front of several subordinates and members of the El Paso County Coroner’s Office assembled in a break room at the Sheriff’s Office.
The comment was made spontaneously as Obama was featured on a television segment, Elder said Monday during an interview. The sheriff said he would have fired the longtime investigator had he not stepped down voluntarily.
“That is unacceptable in my administration,” Elder said. “You wouldn’t get a warning as far as I’m concerned.”
A former lumber yard worker and UPS driver, Jaworski rose to the rank of lieutenant and spent the past 17 years leading or supervising investigations into homicides and other serious crimes, generally with high marks for performance, personnel records show.
His voluntary departure came on May 5, before a disciplinary board was convened to consider action against him.
Jaworski left with his retirement benefits intact, although he would have received them anyway in the case of termination, Elder said.
“There was no settlement, no use of public dollars, or any legal consideration given in return for the retirement,” Elizabeth A. Kirkman, a deputy El Paso County attorney, said in a written statement to The Gazette.
Elder said there was “no reason” to pursue a disciplinary finding against Jaworski in light of his retirement. The question of whether Jaworski was fired or permitted to retire was an issue of “semantics,” the sheriff said.
“The outcome is the same,” Elder said.
Elder declined to provide the precise language of Jaworski’s alleged comments. The Sheriff’s Office did not previously announce Jaworski’s departure, and it denied a request by the newspaper for a copy of an internal affairs investigation report that documented the allegations and Jaworski’s admission.
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