On Friday, July 28, the Southlake Police Department issued a statement from Chief of Police James Brandon in which he said he had fired two officers for drawing a swastika during a break in a meeting involving police department members. The drawing was shared with others.
In the statement, Brandon said he was made aware of the incident June 14 and immediately began an internal investigation.
The statement says,
“As Chief I am deeply disappointed in the lack of judgment shown by the actions of the officers involved. I know that their actions do not reflect the values of the men and women who serve and protect our community each day, our city leadership, our organization, or our community. Hate symbols do not reflect the values that we share as public servants and are not acceptable in any form or situation. The display of a symbol of hate undermines the confidence of the public in our department and does not reflect our values as public servants.
“I hope the disciplinary action taken sends a clear message concerning our department and the city’s values.”
Brandon’s decisive action was hailed by area Jewish organizations. On July 29, The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum commended “the actions of Chief James Brandon and the Southlake Police Department in terminating two officers involved in an incident in which a swastika was drawn during a meeting. The swastika was — and is — the most recognizable symbol of Nazi rule. It evoked fear in their victims and remains a symbol of mass murder, oppression, and blind hatred. No depiction of such a symbol should ever be misinterpreted as humorous or innocent,” wrote Mary Pat Higgins, the museum’s president and CEO, and Lee Michaels, board chair.
The ADL Texoma Region issued a statement Monday on Twitter saying, “We applaud
@SouthlakeDPS for the quick and decisive action of Chief James Brandon in relation to drawings of a swastika by an officer. It is imperative that departments #fighthateforgood and showcase the importance of standing up against antisemitism.”
On Monday, Joel Schwitzer, regional director of the American Jewish Committee Dallas, added, “The level of seriousness with which Chief Brandon approached the incident was laudable. Once coopted by the Nazis the swastika has become an unambiguous symbol of pure hatred and evil. It is not a symbol that should be embraced, utilized or amplified by those in law enforcement. We appreciate Southlake PD making it crystal clear that their officers cannot be associated with Nazi symbolism or ideology.”