Plainfield police captain on leave, other captain suspended after 'white male privilege' comment

PLAINFIELD, Ind. -- One captain with the Plainfield Police Department was suspended and another was placed on administrative leave after one of them made a statement about white male privilege during a transgender awareness session for police.

The comment came on Nov. 1, at the Police Supervisors Transgender Awareness Training session. A representative from the U.S. Department of Justice and a United States attorney were instructing police on issues relating to transgender people, and how police should best interact with transgender people in the community.

About halfway through the presentation Captain Scott Arndt, a 28-year veteran of the Plainfield Police Department, spoke up, asking questions about a certain statistic presented -- that transgender people are 3.32 times more likely to experience police violence, compared to non-transgendered people. 

A video recording of the training session provided by Plainfield captured the exchange.

"My life has never been part of police violence," Arndt said. "Most of the people that I know have never been ... accused the police of violence (sic), so I guess I don't get where that statistic comes from."

At that time, Captain Carri Weber interrupted, saying, "Because of your white male privilege, so you wouldn't know."

Weber's comment appeared to anger Arndt and others.

One of the instructors tried to calm them down and get the room back together, when Arndt said, "Chief, are you going to let her get away with that? Seriously? I'm asking a legitimate question and I'm getting [unintelligible] white privilege? Are you serious? I find that extremely offensive ... I will leave."

It is unclear if he left the room at that time.

 

Arndt was suspended without pay for two days after the incident, for conduct unbecoming a Plainfield Police officer. Weber was placed on paid administrative leave for not only the Nov. 1 incident, but other disciplinary history over the past six months, according to a release from the Town of Plainfield.

The statistic used in the presentation came from a 2013 report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, which used 2012 data from 15 anti violence programs in 16 states. Indiana was not one of the states.

On Nov. 10, Arndt filed a complaint against Weber. 

"I was racially and sexistly slurred by Captain Carri Weber while I was asking a question of the instructor in training," he wrote, according to documents provided by the Town of Plainfield following a public records request. "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."

Tony Perona, the deputy town manager of Plainfield, said the Board of Commissioners voted on Nov. 16 to place Weber on administrative leave. A vote on her future with the department is scheduled for the next commissioner's meeting on Dec. 7.

Weber previously served a two-week suspension for violating the department's policy on alcohol and drug use. She admitted to getting behind the wheel of her department-issued squad car after drinking at a golf outing and carrying beer cans in her squad car. 

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