COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A city patrol officer who posted online a series of homemade videos disparaging Blacks, Jews, Cubans and illegal immigrants was hired despite a review board's refusal to recommend her application.
According to a review of documents by The Columbus Dispatch, the board characterized Susan Purtee as undependable with a history of insubordination. The three-member panel unanimously recommended that Purtee's application be denied by then-public safety director Larry James, who had the final say in hiring.
"Has worked 20 years and has nothing to show for it (heavily in debt). Applicant is shallow and does not accept criticism well," Lt. Rickert Shewring wrote in the board's opinion.
"Does not like people telling her what to do. Very opinionated. Is judgmental about people," he added.
Despite the review board's conclusion in July 1991 that Purtee, then 44, was not an acceptable candidate, she was hired that November.
Purtee, now 60, was reassigned to a desk position with the Columbus police this week after the department became aware of videos Purtee and her sister produced and posted on the Web site YouTube.
Purtee could not be reached on Saturday to comment on the videos or the newspaper's report.
Her sister has called the videos an expression of free speech meant to reveal the truth about America. The videos refer to Blacks, Jews, Cubans and illegal immigrants as "filthy" and "scumbags" and accuse Jews of abusing their positions at the top of the nation's media and entertainment industries.
The review board also expressed concern in 1991 about Purtee's patchy employment and financial history, according to The Dispatch.
While he didn't recall Purtee among the officers he hired, James acknowledged Wednesday that he must have made the decision to hire her. He acknowledged the review board's statements should have given him pause, but said the department has to make the best of the pool of candidates it gets to fill its academy classes.
"She would not have been the perfect candidate," James said. "The question is, how many perfect candidates do you have to select from at the time? How many people did I in fact pass over? That becomes the ultimate question."
Purtee's video postings prompted outcry from civic leaders, with Mayor Michael Coleman decrying their content as offensive. The police department has launched an internal investigation.
--The Associated Press