A former Columbus Police corporal who resigned under pressure last week after falsely accusing Chief Ricky Boren of using a racial slur in reference to Marshal Greg Countryman, had been suspended six years ago for making discriminatory comments about "white folks."
According to reports obtained Wednesday under Georgia's Open Records Act, officer Jeff Foxx, who is black, made the comments while on patrol on University Avenue. Foxx was having a personal cellphone conversation as he initiated a traffic stop during the lunch hour on March 5, 2007. His remarks were recorded by the dashboard camera. The recording system was activated by the blue light and picked up everything said in Foxx's vehicle starting 60 seconds prior to turning on the light, police officials confirmed.
Foxx stopped a Ford F-150 pickup that was being driven by a white female. As he turned his car around to pursue the truck, Foxx can be heard on the recording telling a person he identified as Baby, "I am hooking these white folks up with tickets."
As he pulled behind the truck with his blue light on, he was still having the cellphone conversation. At that time, he said, "They make me work these white folks area, somebody's going to pay the price."
Foxx was given a one-day suspension by Maj. Julius Graham, who noted the corporal's words were "discriminatory and prejudicial."
Graham's memo to Foxx explained the incident:
"In discussing this matter with you, you apologized and stated that the remarks you made were done in private and the recording was unintentional," Graham wrote. "The remarks you made, also, do not represent your true feelings, as you are in no way prejudice (sic) nor go about your duties targeting certain people for malicious prosecution."
Attempts to reach Foxx for comment were unsuccessful. Boren declined comment on anything related to Foxx.
Foxx was at the center of a recent investigation ordered by Mayor Teresa Tomlinson into alleged racial remarks made by Boren in a Public Safety Center restroom. Foxx claimed Boren used the "N" word in reference to Countryman. Foxx told Countryman, who reported it to the mayor.
The Courier Eco Latino, a publication that covers the black and Hispanic communities, reported the alleged remarks. The paper cited an anonymous source and never named Foxx, who told investigators he never spoke to anyone at The Courier.
Tomlinson launched a three-week investigation that concluded this week. It cleared Boren and called the allegation "false and knowingly contrived."
Foxx's story fell apart during a week of interviews that culminated with failed polygraph test the day before he resigned. He has worked 18 years in Columbus public safety, first with the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office, then with the police department. Foxx was making $41,813 annually when he quit, according to city records.
The investigation by Southern Professional Investigations of Lawrenceville, Ga., cost the city about $5,100, according to Tomlinson.
A review of Foxx's personnel file shows multiple suspensions for multiple reasons dating back to 2002.
The offenses include:
He was suspended one day in March 2002 for backing his city car into a pole at Fort Middle School.
He was suspended two days in March 2002 for taking his city vehicle to an adult cinema on Victory Drive while he was off duty.
In September 2002, he was suspended for one day for failure to attend a Recorder's Court hearing.
In January 2003, he received a written reprimand for violating the sick-leave policy. He took time off for his father's triple-bypass surgery but was found working part-time at a Columbus restaurant.
In February 2003, he was suspended one day for failure to follow policy in the search of a person he arrested. The prisoner was taken into the jail with a pocketknife in the shirt.
In May 2007, Foxx was suspended one day for failure to report to work.
In September 2009, he was suspended, then terminated for being untruthful in the investigation of an officer who reportedly choked a suspect in a controlled entryway of the Muscogee County jail. Foxx appealed the decision to the Personnel Review Board, which gave him his job back.
In March 2012, he was suspended one day for dereliction of duty. He responded to a domestic call and failed to fill out a report or make an arrest.
Tomlinson said Foxx's personnel history did not play a role in her decision to ask for his resignation.
"I took the investigation, as well as my conversation with Jeff Foxx, in the context of the complaint related to the chief and marshal," Tomlinson said. "My dealings were related to this issue and this complaint. It was not a cumulative thing."
Foxx is not eligible to be hired by any Columbus government agency, Tomlinson said.