An Indiana police force placed a female captain on paid administrative leave after she told a fellow officer that he benefited from “white male privilege”.
A vote on Captain Carri Weber’s future with the Plainfield Police Department is scheduled for a commissioner’s meeting on Thursday, according to WRTV.
The incident occurred at a 1 November training seminar on how police should interact with transgender people in their communities, led by a US Department of Justice representative and a United States attorney.
During the presentation, an officer who spent 28 years with the department questioned a statistic presented at the conference, that members of the transgender community are 3.32 times more likely to be the victim of police violence than non-transgender people, according to WRTV.
The statistic comes from the 2012 annual report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, which describes itself as an advocacy group for “local LGBTQ communities”.
Video of the event, obtained by several local news stations through an open records requests and later published on YouTube, included audio of the exchange.
An unnamed male officer questioned the statistic.
“My wife has never been part of police violence,” he said. “Most of the people that I know have never accused the police of violence. So I guess I don’t get where that statistic comes from.”
“‘Cause your white male privilege, so you wouldn’t know,” said a woman’s voice. The woman was identified as Ms Weber by local media outlets.
“I’m sorry?” a man asked.
“Your white male privilege,” the woman repeated.
“Chief, you gonna let [unintelligible] get away with that? Seriously? I’m asking a legitimate question here, and I’m getting [unintelligible] white privilege?” the man said, his voice rising.
“Are you serious?” the man then yelled. “I find that extremely offensive.”
“White privilege” and “male privilege” are terms that have been around for years but were popularized in recent years by a 1988 paper written by Peggy McIntosh, according to the New Yorker. Ms McIntosh, who was then a women’s studies scholar with Wellesley College, asserted that both white people and men have certain inherent social advantages in life based on those factors alone.
The phrase “white male privilege” or “white privilege” is now embroiled in identity politics, sometimes employed to suggest that because of their “privilege” white males have more difficulty understanding the grievances of other groups.
The unnamed officer filed a complaint against Weber on 10 November, WRTV reported.
“I was racially and sexistly slurred by Captain Carri Weber while I was asking a question of the instructor in training,” the officer wrote in the complaint. “I am now firmly aware of the discriminatory belief she just verbally communicated. There is no place in the Plainfield Police administration or supervision for someone who holds and espouses her discriminatory views.”
Ms Weber was placed on administrative leave on 16 November. She was previously suspended in August for violating a department policy by driving her squad car within eight hours of drinking alcohol and for having alcohol in her squad car, according to WISH.
Neither Ms Weber nor the Plainfield Police Department could be reached for comment.