by David M. Greenwald
Someone in the LAPD posted a photo of George Floyd on social media with the caption, “You take my breath away,” in a Valentine format last week—the incident is now under investigation from the Los Angeles Police Department.
“Our investigation is to determine the accuracy of the allegations while also reinforcing our zero tolerance for anything with racist views,” the chief told the Los Angeles Times on Saturday.
In the memo, Mastick called the online post “inappropriate” and said that Chief Moore “was disgusted by the post and directed that a Department complaint be generated.”
District Attorney George Gascón issued a statement on Monday, stating, “Celebrating the murder of a Black man at the hands of police demonstrates a profound absence of humanity.”
He said, “The mock valentine underscores the highly problematic, and frankly, racist perceptions that pervade the law enforcement culture regarding the communities we are sworn to protect and serve.”
Gascón said that the District Attorney’s Office will look into the matter in order to “determine if the integrity of any of our cases may be compromised by biased police work.
“The callous nature of what’s alleged here is exceedingly disturbing, and it speaks volumes to law enforcement’s inability to recognize how harmful the use of unlawful force is to public attitudes about police,” Gascón said. “Decades of research have shown that lower levels of trust in police significantly decrease the likelihood that people will report crimes or cooperate with law enforcement. Actions like these ultimately have ramifications for community and officer safety alike.”
Chief Moore told the LA Times if the department confirms that his officers were circulating this image, “people will find my wrath,” noting that there is a need to reinforce the “need for professionalism on our online behavior.”
On Saturday, the LAPD tweeted: “The Department has become aware of allegations that an image was being passed around the department and this image was in the workplace. There are also allegations that the post with the image was authored by a department employee.”
At that time, they indicated that a personnel complaint has been initiated “and we are pursuing each allegation including interviewing the department member who brought it to our attention.”
At the same time, they said, “At this point the Department has not identified any actual postings in the workplace or identified that it was in fact our department employee who created the image. We have raised the apparent existence of the image and directed commands to survey the worksites for it.”
The initial tweet references the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd, who was killed after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by the knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for over nine minutes, after he repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.”
A medical examiner ruled the death of Floyd a homicide and Chauvin, 44, is facing murder and manslaughter charges.
The killing set off a wave of protests and unrest in more than 100 cities across the nation and led to a national reckoning over police brutality as well as racial injustice.
—David M. Greenwald reporting
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