HAMMOND — A police sergeant is under investigation after he was captured on audio allegedly directing homophobic and racist slurs and death threats at a man while off duty at a local bar.
An audio recording provided to The Times by sources with knowledge of the investigation contains racist epithets toward Hispanics and homophobic terminology, attributed to Hammond police Sgt. Anthony Hill.
Because of the offensive nature, The Times chose not to publish transcripts of the audio or the recording itself to nwi.com.
“I have to actually (expletive) fear for my job because of pieces of (expletive) like you,” a man identified as Hill can be heard saying to a city resident at a local bar Dec. 23, according to audio obtained by The Times. “Because I can’t make a mistake. Because I’m a white cop.”
In the audio, Hill appears to allude to a past run-in with the man in which the man threatened to go to the mayor’s office to report other inappropriate comments allegedly made by Hill.
Later during the exchange, Hill allegedly said to the man, “So just go home and kill yourself.”
'Conduct is unacceptable'
Sources with knowledge of the investigation confirm the person speaking racist and homophobic rhetoric on the audio is Hill.
Those sources confirm Hill is the subject of a Hammond police internal affairs investigation as a result — and that the audio was provided to the department by the resident Hill is heard speaking to on the recording.
Hill has been on the local police force for 26 years and was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2006.
Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. told The Times on Tuesday his administration will be calling on Hill to resign for his “homophobic, racist and reprehensible” comments.
“This type of conduct is unacceptable for any city of Hammond employee, much less a member of the Hammond Police Department. We will be seeking termination for this police officer due to racist, homophobic and unprofessional conduct,” McDermott said in a statement.
“His comments do not reflect, in any way shape or form, the views of the city of Hammond or the Hammond Police Department."
‘You’re Mexican, and I’m the ... devil’
A second audio clip obtained by The Times is dated Feb. 19. It opens up with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” playing on the jukebox as a heated argument between Hill and the man gets underway.
Hill accuses the man of going to his boss about a past incident, according to the audio.
“Did they tell you it was me? No, they didn’t,” the man says.
“No, they can’t because you’re a victim," Hill replies. "You’re brown, and you’re Mexican. And I’m the (expletive) devil. I’m a jerk and a white male.”
Later in the audio, Hill references other run-ins with the man in which he threatened to go to his superiors if Hill didn’t stop with his inappropriate remarks.
“You said that to me many, many times,” Hill said. “That ‘You’re going down' and that 'I’m (Chief) John Doughty’s buddy.’ Did you not say that to me?”
“No,” the man replies.
Another homophobic and racist rant attributed to Hill follows, including slurs toward Hispanics.
In part of the recording, the person identified as Hill threatens to kill the man.
“You didn’t? Lying (expletive). Piece of (expletive). Yeah, (expletive). (Expletive) you. You said that to me. You were taking me down. Eh, smile with that finger on your lips, piece of (expletive) with that (expletive) hat on. You … threatened me over and over again with that. ... I'm going to kill this (expletive)!"
Moments later, the man reveals he was secretly recording his exchange with Hill and planned to take it to Hill's boss, presumably Chief Doughty.
“Are you really? … Oh my God, could you be weaker, could you be weaker, you (expletive)? … What a (expletive). Oh my God,” Hill can be heard saying in the audio.
Spokesman: Hill on unpaid leave
Hammond police spokesman Lt. Steven Kellogg said the department was first made aware of the incident March 7 and took immediate action to place Hill on administrative leave and open an internal investigation.
“That investigation is expected to be concluded this Thursday morning, and the results of that investigation will be released at that time,” he said.
Doughty said his department has a zero-tolerance policy against any form of bias or racism by its officers.
"This incident is being investigated thoroughly, and the outcome will reflect that position," Doughty said in a statement.
Hill's 2018 annual compensation was $74,137.52, according to an online state salary database.
Contacted by The Times on Tuesday, the alleged victim in the case declined comment, citing the open investigation. Hill could not be immediately reached for comment.