Reservist accused of ‘racial slur’ not guilty
A reservist accused of using an inappropriate term for a black co-worker’s hair and of later striking a supervisor has been found not guilty.
The Aug. 3 court martial decision was announced in a news release issued by the military on Friday.
Cpl. Garett Rollman was charged with striking his superior officer and two charges of “conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline’’ arising out of an incident involving himself and another worker in the kitchen at the military base in Aldershot.
During the court martial, military judge Cmdr. Sandra Sukstorf heard contrasting views from witnesses on whether Rollman’s use of the word “nappy’’ on Feb. 20, 2016 to describe Cheryl Richard’s hair was intended as a racial slur.
Richard testified she felt it was meant to be derisive.
However, a black, non-commissioned officer who works with both kitchen staff said he believed Rollman was attempting to explain a video he had been watching with his fiancée about black hair. Rollman’s fiancée is also black, Sgt. Christopher Jones said.
Jones had testified Richard had had a long-standing workplace conflict with Rollman, to the point where the two were assigned to work on separate shifts for several years, and Jones testified Richard had taken the opportunity to “go after him (Rollman).’’
The prosecution had alleged that Rollman had hit his supervisor, Sgt. Earl Smith, on the hand, after Richard ran into Smith’s office following an argument with Rollman.