The Deforest Police Department’s chief is on leave after racist comments he made surfaced on Youtube. In the video, the chief adds commentary about a group of black men going out to eat. The contents of the video has led Deforest officials to place Furseth on leave.
The chief was placed on leave May 23 after bringing the video to the attention of the council. Village administrator Steve Fahlgren said, “The chief had been unaware of it. When he became aware of it, he came to me.”
According to Fahlgren, the video was taken 10-11 years ago. The video was uploaded to Youtube December 2, 2015. Youtuber “Defiant Drone Pilot” uploaded the video and captioned it with allegations of racism and discriminatory practice from the chief. After discovering the video, Furseth immediately brought it to the attention of village officials.Furseth appeared to be “embarrassed, ashamed, frustrated” at the emergence of the footage.
In the commentary posted along with the video, Defiant Drone Pilot says he did his police internship at the DeForest Police Department. He also wrote that he was arrested in DeForest as a juvenile.
“This is the racist Chief of Police Daniel Furseth, who is much like the rest of DeForest,” Defiant Drone Pilot’s commentary says.
Defiant Drone Pilot says the video was taken by somebody who had borrowed his video camera. “This is the actual voice of DeForest Police Chief Daniel Furseth. This is his actual character and some of his actual beliefs that he instills into all his officers, all 100% white males,” Defiant Drone Pilot wrote.
In the video, Furseth is heard in the background making his insensitive comments while a group of black men dressed in what appears to be prom attire enter a Steak N Shake restaurant.
“We’s out on a date … and we’re gonna give ’em food,” he says. “OK, boys, let’s go in. This is the fanciest-ass restaurant we’ve ever been to and it’s called the Steak and Shake.”
The village board has hired a private firm to investigate the video and to see if Furseth has exhibited any more signs of racial insensitivity since that video. “We think this is an isolated incident but we want to make sure we look into it and do our due diligence,” Fahlgren said.
The board will decide whether to send the findings of the investigation to the village’s police commission. The commission will then decide to either suspend of fire Furseth.