In a private meeting on Wednesday, Tempe police Sgt. Chuck Schoville acknowledged “serious mistakes” in airing a city TV program that showed him telling two black men they could perform a rap to avoid a ticket.
A black community leader at the meeting, the Rev. Oscar Tillman, said Schoville, who is white, “wanted it to be known that that’s not him and that’s not the caliber of police work he does.”
Tillman said police Chief Tom Ryff also was at the meeting, held at a Village Inn restaurant in Tempe.
Tillman, the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Valley chapter, and another reverend expressed outrage last month over the November episode of “Tempe StreetBeat,” which showed the encounter between Schoville and the men, along with other scenes of officers on patrol.
After learning of the outrage, the city’s police chief and mayor publicly apologized, yanked the show from the air and launched an investigation into it. Both city leaders said they had not seen the episode previously. The investigation is ongoing.
Tillman said Schoville asked to meet last week, but had been advised not to speak until the investigation was almost finished.
Once they met, Tillman said he told Schoville he did not go after him “to end his career.”
The other black leader who criticized the episode, the Rev. Jarrett Maupin, president of the National Action Network’s Arizona chapter, said Schoville also asked to meet with him. A meeting was scheduled, but Maupin had to cancel. Maupin said he plans to reschedule.
Tempe leaders expected the investigation to be finished last Friday, but in a news release that day, a city spokeswoman said it was not finished because it “involves complicated, interrelated issues deserving appropriate and careful consideration.”
Schoville could not be reached and has not responded to a request for comment made through the department.