Australian police official quits over racist, obscene posts
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A senior Australian state police officer has resigned over racist and obscene comments he posted online under a fake name and is being investigated by an anti-corruption agency.
Victoria State Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said he accepted Assistant Commissioner Brett Guerin’s resignation on Monday night.
Guerin had been in charge of Professional Standards, the force’s internal misbehavior watchdog.
Guerin created a Facebook profile under the pseudonym Vernon Demerest, a character played by Dean Martin in the 1970 movie “Airport.”
Demerest’s racist rants have targeted Indians, Pakistanis, Somalis and Argentinians. He also attacked former senior police in obscene posts and argued that women should not be allowed to sing Australia’s national anthem.
Ashton said he would talk with multicultural community leaders and human rights advisers on how to improve police culture as a result of Guerin’s behavior.
“It’s behavior that is completely and utterly unacceptable at Victoria Police,” Ashton told reporters.
“That’s just behavior that’s well, well below the line of expectation here at Victoria Police, it’s not consistent with our values, it’s not consistent with the work we’ve been doing with community over the last several years particularly, it’s just completely abhorrent and inconsistent with that, so for those reasons Brett Guerin has left our organization,” Ashton added.
Guerin last week admitted to being Demerest, but argued he was entitled to use an alias to air personal views.
“It’s crude and coarse language, and you know what I’m most ashamed about is my mother and my daughters have read it,” Guerin told Melbourne Radio 3AW.
“The mistake I made which I’m very regretful for is the type of language — I shouldn’t have got down that low,” he added.
Guerin is being investigated by the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission, a state watchdog for official misconduct.