Bartow Officer Fired For Calling Obama A 'Gorilla' Speaks Out

BARTOW, Fla. (970 WFLA) - A police officer who was fired for calling President Obama a "gorilla" in a Facebook post is speaking out.

Former Bartow officer Christina Arribas told News Channel 8 that she's sorry, but with a caveat.

"I just want to apologize for the comment I made.  I know offensive it was to some people. I implied it towards one person, specifically. It’s not a feeling of an entire race,” Arribas said.

“At the time I was elated that a former president was on his way out of the White House, because he was largely responsible for the war on law enforcement,” said Arribas.

Here's what the officer said on Facebook last fall:

“Yes!!! This year we lost two gorillas. One is in heaven, and one is moving out of the White House. One will be missed. One will not be.”

Arribas said she was disciplined, although the department said she was punished for posting on social media while wearing her uniform, not because of the content of the remark.  

“I do regret it. I have black friends. I’ve had black trainees. My training officer was black. I’ve had a great relationship with the black community. This tears me up inside because I love the Bartow community, and I’ve loved serving it for ten years. I never intended to bring any negative attention to the police department or to my community,” Arribas said.

The Bartow Police Department faced protests from community groups led by Pastor Clayton Cowart, who demanded Arribas be fired along with Chief of Police Joe Hall.

Hall has not resigned, but he did fire Arribas after the demonstrations outside his agency.

photo credit: WFLA-TV

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