Pct. 3 sergeant resigns after questionable text message with 'racial undertone'

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A Harris County Precinct 3 sergeant is no longer with the department after allegedly sending a questionable text while working an off-duty job.

Chief Deputy Kirk Bonsal says Sgt. Jason Hutchins sent an "inappropriate comment via a text message" on May 9, while working an off-duty job.

According to Bonsal, the text message had a racial undertone.

"The comment in question appeared to have a racial undertone and was extremely disappointing as it does not reflect the heart and commitment to excellence of our agency," Precinct 3 released in a statement.

The department was made aware of the incident on May 27, and Hutchins was subsequently relieved of duty without pay pending an internal investigation.

However, just a few hours later, Hutchins resigned from the agency.

Major Isaac Villarreal, the public information officer with the Precinct 3 constable's office, told ABC13 Hutchins was sitting in his car at a COVID-19 testing site as several other deputies were setting up cones in the parking lot.

Two of the deputies setting up were reportedly black. Hutchins sent a text to someone on his private phone and said the officers setting up the cones looked like a "circus with monkeys," according to Villarreal.

Days later, someone reported the text message to Precinct 3 leadership.

According to Villarreal, when Hutchins was questioned, he said he was referring to the disorganization of the setup, and that the message was not intended to be racial.

Villarreal says the constable's office understood it wasn't intended.

Bonsal says they will continue their internal review of the allegations.

Follow TJ Parker on Facebook and Twitter.
Related topics:
harris county
Copyright © 2020 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.