A Florida police chief was fired last week over claims that he used discriminatory approaches to hiring and promotions that unfairly centered Black people and other people of color within the department.
Larry Scirotto had been police chief less than a year before the city of Fort Lauderdale began investigating the claims, ultimately firing him on Thursday (March 3).
Scirotto was sworn into office back in mid-August of last year. Months later, the city hired a law firm to investigate complaints of Scirotto's practices that he says promoted diversity within the department, according to a copy of the law firm's report obtained by CNN. The now former police chief says the report is "vague on the facts" and is based on hearsay.
In one instance, the report claims that Scirotto pointed to a conference room wall that had photos of the department's command staff and stated, "that wall is too white," and "I'm gonna change that."
Scirotto told CNN that 15 people were promoted between the time he took office and November. Out of them, six were from racially marginalized groups or gender minorities who earned the promotions on their own merit.
"None of them were promoted because they were in a protected class," Scirotto told the outlet. "They were promoted because they were the best candidates."
Scirotto also revealed he's hired his own legal team and plans to sue the city for wrongful termination.
"It promoting diversity is the hill I'm going to die on, I'm going to sleep well tonight," he said. "I won't allow them to tarnish my reputation. I won't allow them to tarnish the work I've done in the 24 years I've been in this profession."
Scirotta added that promoting diverse individuals was important because of the community officers police.
"The bottom row had several white males and one white female," he told CNN affiliate WFOR. "We're talking in conversation as it relates to our community and the expectation of a diverse and inclusive organization. And how do I purport we have that when the entire bottom row is white men?"