AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) – The Aurora Civil Service Commission voted Tuesday to uphold a former Aurora Police Department union leader’s termination.

Doug Wilkinson, the former president of the Aurora Police Association, was fired in February for violating the city’s anti-harassment and discrimination policies following a controversial mass email he sent in November.

“Under current circumstances where the City and the Department are seeking cohesiveness and working diligently to achieve diversity, the Commission intends to send a clear message that racist and sexist statements that divide the police force and community have no place in Aurora,” the civil service commission wrote in an order, signed by Howard Johnson, the chair.

He continued, “in light of the nature of Petitioner Wilkinson’s lack of remorse and inability to understand or acknowledge the negative effects of his statements, the commission concludes that termination is appropriate.”

Wilkinson will have 30 days to appeal the findings in district court.

What Wilkinson did to get fired

Former police chief Vanessa Wilson fired Wilkinson after he sent a mass email to officers criticizing a consent decree agreement between the city and the attorney general’s office. His message prompted a few officers to file race and gender discrimination complaints.

According to the Civil Service Commission, Wilkinson’s email complained about plans to enhance diversity in the department.

His email said, in part, “[T]he elephant in the room for some of you is the ‘diversity’ issue in hiring and promotions. ‘Diversity’ isn’t defined or justified by them. I suppose that the city could do political polling to make sure that the average politics of the department reflects the political ‘diversity’ of ‘the community’. Or, to match the ‘diversity’ of ‘the community’, we could make sure to hire 10% illegal aliens, 50% weed smokers, 10% crackheads, and a few child molesters and murderers to round it out. You know, so we can make the department to look like the ‘community.’”

It continued by referring to the state’s plan to improve diversity at the department as “sexist and racist.”

 “We already hire every minority that passes the minimum requirements. We can’t make people apply, and people of different race and sex groups apply for police jobs at different rates. It’s a cultural thing that we can’t control and that won’t quickly change,” he wrote.

The civil service commission said that Wilkinson believed his email was not offensive.

“According to Petitioner Wilkinson, he did not believe his email was divisive. Petitioner Wilkinson expressed little recognition or concern about the fact that some people might have been offended by his email, noting that his role is to do what he thinks is best for the majority of the APA membership,” the commission found. “Petitioner Wilkinson further argued there was no evidence that anyone resigned from the APD as a result of his email nor that his email interfered with any specific officer’s performance of their official duties. Petitioner Wilkinson’s primary explanation and defense of his email, discussed in greater detail below, is that it was protected speech for which he cannot be investigated or disciplined.”