Tuesday, April 24, 2007




April 23, 2007 -- Several NYPD sergeants and officers were on the hot seat yesterday for calling four black female cops "nappy-headed ho's" during two separate roll calls - within days of shock jock Don Imus' firing for using the same racist slur on air.

The incidents, confirmed by an NYPD source yesterday, have already led to one sergeant being transferred from his precinct and stripped of supervisory duties, and another being ordered to answer questions about his conduct by departmental investigators.

"This language is unacceptable under any circumstances, and even more egregious when it comes from individuals in positions of authority," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

The first incident occurred April 12 - the same day Imus was fired from his WFAN show - during evening roll call at the Queens Narcotics Division.

Detective Aretha Williams was looking for the sign-out book at the end of her shift.

"Don't give me no lip before I call you a nappy-headed ho," Sgt. Michael Cantatore, who is white, told Williams, according to the detective.

That comment "cut me to the core," said Williams yesterday. "I find it disrespectful, racist, sexist.

"It can't be tolerated," said the 15-year veteran, who broke down into tears during a press conference with 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care.

Cantatore is scheduled to retire today. An NYPD source said he would be interviewed tomorrow by Equal Opportunity Office investigators who are probing the women's complaints.

In another incident, on April 15, three black female officers - Tronnette Jackson, Maria Gomez and Karen Nelson - allegedly were singled out during a morning roll call in Brooklyn's 70th Precinct by Sgt. Carlos Mateo, who is Hispanic.

"Stand-up, ho's," Mateo said,
according to lawyer Bonita Zelman, who works with the Guardians Association, an advocacy group for minority officers.

Police Officer Ralph Montenez then chimed in, "They're not just ho's, they're nappy-headed ho's," according to Zelman.

The women did not respond during this exchange.

On Friday, according to a police source, Mateo was transferred out of the 70th Precinct to an undisclosed assignment and stripped of his supervisory duties.

The sergeant had already been on thin ice over problems handling his administrative work and now faces possible demotion, a police source said.

"He wasn't a mean-spirited guy," a source said. "He was just a little dopey."

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