They didn’t monkey around in St. Petersburg. The forces of political correctness got what they wanted: the head of Police Chief Mack Vines. Mayor Rick Baker, who would give tremulous a bad name, fired him.
Vines was done in by the simile police who were outraged that he would liken an “orangutan” to an unruly, resistant suspect who had to be dragged out of the window of a pickup by several officers. Said suspect was a black man.
Perhaps Vines should have gone with the generic “madman” or “crazy man” or even garden-variety “lunatic.” But to belittle, in effect, the mentally and emotionally challenged is probably beyond insensitivity today. Neither did he utter the culturally chancy “whirling dervish” or the ADA-alerting “spastic.”
No, it was “orangutan.”
There were some phone calls and the usual suspects took the usual umbrage. The city’s employee relations director investigated. A Vines’ apology for having “offended individuals from the African-American community” was not enough. This was a fire-able offense. No counseling. No hair shirt. No second chance. Termination.
Mayor Baker, who has less backbone than, well, an orangutan, summed up the travesty nicely. After acknowledging that he didn’t think Vines’ reference was intended to be racially based, Baker said the simian simile, “however innocently made