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Two Dallas Area Policeman Fired for Swastika Photo

One of two Southlake police officers fired last month texted a photo of the other smiling after he drew a swastika and lightning bolts, which typically represent Hitler’s paramilitary forces, according to documents obtained Wednesday by The Dallas Morning News.

The chief terminated Capt. James Preston Logan and Sgt. Jonathan Macheca and last month after an investigation into the drawing, according to the documents. The records allege Macheca made the illustration on a whiteboard during a break from hiring prospective officers at a training center. Logan is accused of snapping the photo and sending it to other officers and accidentally including a member of the public, the documents say.

The documents do not include any images of the drawing. The lightning bolts are still used as a sign of white supremacy. It was unclear whether the officers had attorneys. They could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

The drawing included the phrase “SSRO,” which appears to combine the designation for Hitler’s paramilitary forces, known as the SS, and SRO, meaning a school resource officer, according to the documents. Logan was a captain for the school resource division, while Macheca was assigned to the training unit.

Macheca and Logan violated several department policies including “unlawful harassment and discrimination” and “unbecoming conduct,” according to the documents.

The documents obtained by The News through a public-records request publicly revealed the officers’ names for the first time and also identified a third officer, Sgt. Chris Melton. The records allege Melton texted the photo to a sergeant and sent “disparaging and unprofessional” comments about potential police candidates to hiring board members.

The released documents did not detail the comments. It was not immediately clear whether Melton was disciplined. A Southlake police spokesperson did not immediately provide comment.

Southlake police Chief James Brandon released a statement Friday that said two officers were terminated for a swastika drawing. The statement came just days after The News inquired about the drawing and filed the records request for information after an anonymous tip.

An attorney representing the city of Southlake asked the Texas Attorney General to withhold some documents related to the investigation, arguing the information is privileged.

In the statement last week, Brandon did not identify the officers but said they were placed on leave June 14 when he became aware of the incident. He said he was “deeply disappointed in the lack of judgment shown by the actions of the officers involved.”

Records show Logan was fired July 11. Macheca was fired July 17, according to the records.

As Macheca joked around with a hiring board member, he drew the swastika in a training room and Logan — also on the board — photographed him and texted it to other hiring board members, the documents say.

But Logan had an old phone number for a sergeant, and “inadvertently texted the image” to an unknown member of the public. The citizen responded, “who is this, and why are you sending me a picture of a racist cop?” according to the documents.

Melton then sent the photo to the right number for the sergeant after he realized she didn’t receive the image, the documents say.

Macheca had worked with Southlake police since December 2008, according to Texas Commission on Law Enforcement records obtained by The News. He worked with the U.S. Coast Guard until 2007, the records say.

Logan had worked with Southlake police since 2012, according to TCOLE documents and his LinkedIn profile.

Melton has been with the department since 2012, according to TCOLE records.

Source: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/public-safety/2023/08/02/fired-southlake-cop-smiled-for-swastika-photo-accidentally-texted-to-citizen-records-say/