Updated:SANFORD, Fla. — Two Sanford police officers were in trouble for sending racial and sexual computer messages. Officer Ned Golden Jr. was suspended and Officer Jason Bowen was fired.
Eyewitness News learned that Officer Golden is a part of an influential family in the police department. Ned Golden's father is head of the police union and documents show his family is not new to troubling allegations.
As Officer Bowen's car sits empty after his firing, Golden will return to work.
Officer Jason Bowen was supposedly training Officer Ned Golden Jr. when the two men were sending racially and sexually inappropriate messages on police computers.
Dozens of offensive emails flew back and forth between the two men and towards other colleagues.
Eyewitness News obtained the audio interview that was conducted between an investigator and Bowen.
"Hey b****, we're talking about you in the morning briefing. Did you send that message?" an investigator asked.
"Probably, yes," Bowen replied.
Bowen claimed it was all in jest.
"I mean, you know, we have a very stressful job and that's what a lot of people do, is they joke to vent. And that's what I do. I joke a lot to vent," Bowen said.
Though Bowen was fired, Golden Jr. was only suspended for two weeks.
Golden's father is president of Sanford's influential Police Union, and has had similar problems in the past.
In 2004, a black officer accused Golden Sr. of racial intimidation after he allegedly said, "People like you disgust me."
Golden Jr.'s mother, Tina, is a felon after pleading guilty to making fraudulent check deposits into an account that she and Golden Sr. shared.
"We look up to these guys, we really do," said Patricia Doughty, the Sanford Watchers.
Neighborhood watch member, Pat Doughty, is glad the rogue officers were decisively punished, but knows this "black eye" is not something the already struggling department needs.
"I was really surprised. I'm surprised that any officer would, first of all, use city equipment to do these things," Doughty said.
Investigators found blame for both Golden Sr. and his accuser in the 2004 racial intimidation case.
Sanford police says Golden Jr.'s suspension has nothing to do with his father's influence. They say his messages were more immature than they were inappropriate.
Previous Stories: February 2, 2010: Officer Fired After Investigation Into "Inappropriate" Messages