ARCADIA, Fla. - The State of Florida is investigating one of their employees after a heated exchange was caught on camera. The video shows a DeSoto County probation officer yelling curse words and a racial slur at an Arcadia man over the weekend.
“I had to get it on tape because it was outrageous. I couldn't believe the stuff she was saying,” said the man who shot the cell phone video and wishes to remain anonymous.
“She started cursing and telling us we couldn't be there,” he said.
The man said he was helping his dad, who’s a contractor for FEMA, clean up debris on Saturday.
He said the woman in the video pulled over and walked towards them demanding they move their trucks from the narrow road so she could pass. That’s when the name calling began.
“She proceeded to call us names like F-ing Mexicans,” he said. “We’re just trying to clean up her street. Its completely demoralizing.”
The Florida Department of Corrections told Fort Myers-based WFTX the woman in the video is Tracy Keen, a probation officer in DeSoto County.
Here is the Department's statement regarding the incident:
“The actions of this individual are distasteful and uncalled for. Her behavior is in no way a reflection of the hundreds of probation officers around the state that work diligently to serve and protect Florida’s communities every day. The Department is thoroughly reviewing this incident and will determine the appropriate action.”
“Anyone in the probation department needs to have consideration for minorities and everybody else and the fact that she was willing to do this and this wasn't the first time I’ve heard goes to show she is biased and shouldn't be in a position of power for the probation department,” said Scott Weinberg, an attorney with Brown Suarez Rios & Weinberg in Punta Gorda.
Weinberg suggests the state shouldn't keep her in the position.
The man who shot the video said he agreed.
“She could do something to someone that doesn't deserve it just because she’s racist towards them,” he said.
As a Mexican-American, he said the targeted words are a first for him, and hopefully a last.
“I’ve never really experienced this personally," he said. "When i saw it, it really shocked me. I’m so proud of my Mexican heritage. No person should be treated that way.”
The Department of Corrections says Keen did not have any prior documented complaints with the agency.