The police chief said he was ‘misrepresented’ but takes responsibility for his actions (Robert Alexander/Getty)
A police chief investigated for workplace discrimination has genuinely claimed that he when he called officers “homo” it was short for “homosapien”.
Lorain Police Chief James McCann was investigated by The Fraternal Order of Police following accusations of homophobia, offensive comments and unfair labor practices from his fellow officers.
Among the evidence seen by investigators were text messages which reveal McCann addressing colleagues as “homo” in two separate conversations in January 2020.
McCann attempted to defend himself by arguing that “homo” was short for homosapien. He insisted it was not a reference to sexual orientation, but acknowledged it was inappropriate regardless.
The two-month investigation uncovered several instances of concerning behaviour from McCann, including Facebook memes of a Confederate flag with the words: “You weren’t offended until liberals told you to be,” and a photo of the Pride flag captioned: “Celebrating equal rights? I’m still waiting for mine.”
One officer was allegedly called a “whiny b***h” regarding a union dispute, while another officer whose surname is Gelenius said McCann would deliberately mispronounce it as “Gay-lenius”.
According to the investigator’s final report, it was found “more likely than not” that these accusations were true. Officer Gelenius alleges it represents a pattern of discriminatory comments targeting his sexual orientation.
Investigators documented several “generally negative” comments McCann made to this effect, including a remark about him having “fairy socks” and a joke about his sex life during a training session.
This culminated in the officer being removed from his position as traffic commissioner, which he claims was due to his sexual orientation. McCann denied that Gelenius’ sexuality played a role in this decision.
In a prepared statement, McCann said the union’s report contained many “misrepresentations” but accepted full responsibility for his actions, adding that he would comply with the opportunity for training.
“The turmoil and tension from national events has made it difficult for not only the public, but our officers as well,” he stated.
“Change is never easy, especially when it happens so quickly. I’ve had to make pragmatic business decisions, and I know it has been difficult for my officers and for me personally.
“As much as I have tried to cultivate unity, I have received substantial resistance from some members of the police union,” he continued.
“Although I take full responsibility for my actions, I suspect this complaint is driven more by resistance to recent decisions by LPD management than any real offence related to my comments.”