Future Farrell Police chief resigns over n-word in email

farrell pennsylvania police chief n word apology
Thomas Burke (center, in front of microphone), delivers an apology Monday afternoon in Farrell after admitting to using a variant of the n-word in an email.

FARRELL, Pa. (WKBN) – Thomas Burke, who was set to take over the chief’s job of the new Farrell Police Department in January, resigned the job before starting it Friday in the wake of a controversy over his use of the n-word in an email from earlier this year.

Farrell Mayor Olive McKeithan said that city leaders, including herself, asked Burke to resign, and he agreed. McKeithan said that there had been a lot of tension in the city and that the decision would be the best thing for the city.

McKeithan declined to comment when asked why she was in favor of keeping Burke in office but later changed her mind.

Burke gave a public apology Monday after he admitted to using a variant of the n-word in an email.

“To everybody here, to everybody out there, my deepest. I cannot tell you, from the bottom of my heart, I am truly sorry. I apologize deeply,” he said.

Burke also apologized for his lack of judgment when the initial email was sent.

WKBN received what was reportedly a copy of the e-mail, dated as being sent in April 2015. A news release from the city of Farrell Friday confirmed that Burke sent the racial slur in April 2015.

The city of Farrell decided in September to break off from the Southwest Mercer Regional Police District and form its own police department. Burke was going to start the job Jan. 1.

This is a developing story. Check back here and watch WKBN 27 First News at 6 p.m. for the latest.

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