Update (March 12, 2019): A second Detroit police officer has been fired over a racially insensitive Snapchat post that mocked a Black woman walking home in freezing temperatures.
Officer Michael Garrison was fired after an investigation into the incident uncovered a history of racist behavior, according to Fox12. Detroit Police Chief James Craig announced the termination on Tuesday.
Even though Garrison did not post the video, he can be heard mocking 23-year-old Ariel Winters as she walked home in the snow after her car was towed. He also had a history of using racist terms like "Kieshas," "Jakes" and "homeys" to refer to Black people and "Lil Al-Qaeda" to refer to other people of color.
Craig also accused Garrison of 11 instances of misconduct in four categories: conduct unbecoming, failure to report misconduct, willingly and knowingly departing from making truthful statements and neglect of duty.
Finally, the chief said he felt he had to fire Garrison given his attitude about the allegations he faced, reports The Detroit Metro Times.
"I didn't see any sense of remorse, certainly, no apology was made for his conduct," Craig recalled. "What I found interesting several times during the hearing, he did appear to look at me in a very disdaining way and that was about it."
Garrison was a member of the force for over 18 years. He has yet to comment on his dismissal.
Original: A white police officer in Detroit has been terminated for a racist Snapchat post he made mocking a Black woman per CBS News.
The officer, Gary Steele, and his partner pulled over 24-year-old Ariel Moore on January 29 after they discovered her vehicle had expired license plate tabs, The Detroit Metro Times reports. The officers decided the vehicle needed to be towed due to its plate problem, leaving Moore without transportation.
The Daily Beast reports bodycam footage shows the officers offered Moore a ride home; however, given she wasn’t far from where she lived, the 24-year-old decided to brave the Michigan winter and walk the rest of the way.
Steele felt it would be a good idea to document her trip on Snapchat.
The officers followed the young woman, filming her as she made her way through the snow and below-freezing weather, all while using filters meant to honor Black history to mock Moore.
Over clips emblazoned with the “Celebrate Black History Month" filter and a filter that read "What Black Girl Magic Looks Like," Steele and his partner laughingly called the difficult trek “priceless,” a “walk of shame” and end their broadcast by saying, “Bye, Felicia.”
Citizens expressed outrage when the footage became public, as did Detroit’s Police Chief James Craig.
Shortly after the incident, Craig addressed the press about the posts.
“I’m not troubled. I’m not disappointed," he said. "I’m angry. I'm angry because this was a racially insensitive post."
Steele, who was a corporal before his snaps became public, was first stripped of his rank following the cruel posts.
But on February 27, Craig announced Steele's termination from the department, citing other cases of "derogatory, demoralizing, degrading, and yes, racially insensitive" the officer used during his 18 years on the force.
The chief called Steele’s post a “bad decision” that showed little regard for a citizen’s wellbeing.
“She’s walking on a very cold night,” Craig said. “It’s dark, and, in my view, she’s in harm’s way. … It could’ve been my daughter, my sister. It doesn’t matter, it could have been anyone.”
Moore said she’s overwhelmed by the video.
“I’ve never had this happen to me in my life. I’m kind of shocked — I don’t really know how to feel right now,” the 24-year-old said. “I’m still trying to take it in.”
Monique Mobley, Moore’s mother, told WXYZ she knows how to feel.
“What they put on there, that’s racist,” Mobley said. “They demeaned my child for no reason.”
As News 5 Cleveland notes, this incident isn’t Steele’s first brush with controversy.
In 2008, the officer was living in Canton, Michigan, and charged with assault after firing a gun near his ex-girlfriend’s head. He pleaded guilty but served no time behind bars; instead, he was put on probation and continued his work as a police officer.
Responding to a question about this history, Craig suggested Steele wouldn’t still be on the force had the incident happened while he held the top job.
“I will tell you there would have been a different outcome had I been chief during those years,” Craig said. “His history is troubling. There’s a pattern, and I’m concerned about that pattern. So that’s something I’ll be looking at and addressing.”
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