Uh-oh. Atlanta police are finding themselves in another gay pickle, this time starring Erik Estrada. But unlike the Eagle raid, this self-inflicted wound is prompting a swift reaction from department brass.
Deputy Chief Renee Propes, the agency’s highest-ranking openly gay commander, came out swinging in reaction to a photo emailed to a Fox 5 reporter that includes an image of Estrada from his “CHiPS” days with the phrase “You’re a homo” scrawled on it. Fox 5 first aired the story on Wednesday and police didn’t hesitate to condemn the photo, which may be a practical joke played on a now-retired police sergeant.
“I think we have done a great job making sure our department is following our policies, that we don’t discriminate… This is just something we don’t tolerate, and I hate that it’s occurred,” Propes told Fox 5.
She went even further in an interview with the GA Voice.
“We don’t know why somebody put this out,” Propes said. “It’s some kind of stupid joke.”
Propes said the photo was left on the desk of a sergeant who retired three months ago. He called Propes to tell her that the photo belonged to him and was given the image about 10 years ago, according to the GA Voice.
The sergeant, whose name she did not give, looked like Erik Estrada, loved it when people called him “Ponch,” collected “CHiPS” action figures and even had a photo of himself with Estrada and John Wilcox, the stars of the show.
“He said the photo was given to him more than a decade ago and he threw it in a desk drawer. When he retired, he said he thought he put it in the trash,” Propes said.
Atlanta police have launched an internal affairs investigation into the photo.