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Pinellas detention sergeant resigns over 'racial and sexist comment,' sheriff's office says

He's worked there for more than 20 years.
Credit: WTSP

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A Pinellas County detention sergeant has resigned rather than wait to be fired over an investigation into racial and sexist comments the sheriff's office says he made about subordinate members.

Back in August, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office says 53-year-old Sergeant Richard Nascimento Jr. was speaking with another supervisor about the selection of deputies for the Training Division when he allegedly said he did not want any more Black women. The sheriff's office said he indicated Black women deputies would not be considered for transfer due to their race and gender.

Investigators say the comment was overheard by the only Black female deputy assigned to the Training Division. However, the sheriff's office said the remark was unreported until other leaders became aware on Oct. 29. At that point, the sheriff's office said Nascimento was "immediately removed from his
position" and put on administrative leave.

An internal investigation was conducted. The matter was scheduled to be heard by the Administrative Review Board on Thursday. Nascimento resigned Wednesday before that could happen.

"According to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, based on the evidence
obtained during the internal investigation establishing Nascimento's racial
and gender-based discriminatory remarks, Sheriff Gualtieri would have
terminated Nascimento's employment had he not resigned prior to the
Administrative Review Board hearing," the sheriff's office wrote in a news release.

Nascimento had been with the agency since October 1999.

The sheriff's office said all its members should have a work environment that is free of discrimination.

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