Los Angeles police have opened an internal investigation after an inappropriate image of George Floyd, the man arrested in Minneapolis last year, was reportedly circulated in the department, officials said.
The image is styled in an unspecified Valentine-like format with the words ‘You take my breath away’, according to a internal memo posted on Twitter and what Chief Michel Moore Told The Los Angeles Times on Saturday.
“The department is aware of the inappropriate post and a complaint has been initiated, and due to personnel matters we are unable to comment further,” said Officer Rosario Cervantes, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department. Another spokeswoman, Stacy D. Spell, confirmed that an administrative staff investigation had been instituted, but that she could not comment on its specifics.
George Floyd, a black man, died in May after being handcuffed for more than nine minutes and pinned to the ground under the knee of Derek Chauvin, who was then a Minneapolis police officer. In video recordings, Mr. Floyd can hear the words “I can not breathe” spoken more than 20 times. Mr. Chauvin, 44, is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The murder of mr. Floyd sparked a nationwide social justice movement as people marched for weeks in cities – including Los Angeles – across the country, protesting police brutality and systemic racism. The marches were largely peaceful, although the protests sometimes turned into chaos and violence with looting and the burning of buildings.
In Los Angeles, the protests recalled the riots that took place nearly thirty years earlier after four police officers were acquitted of assault for the beatings of Rodney King. The beatings, which took place in 1991, were captured on film and were one of the first viral videos of a black man being abused by the police.
Police said on Twitter on Saturday that they were aware of suggestions that the image of mr. Floyd ‘sent by the department and that this image was in the workplace’ and that it was possibly ‘written by an employee of the department’.
The employee who brought the image to the attention of officials will be questioned, the department said.
The department added that the department did not identify a real job in the workplace, or that it was our employee of the department who created the image, but that he was instructed to ‘investigate the workplaces for it’.
If the image is found, an employee or supervisor is ordered to take possession of and identify those present, ‘police said. “The department will have no tolerance for this type of behavior.”
Colonel Moore came under fire after referring to looters and saying during a virtual briefing in June that the death of mr. Floyd “is just as much on their hands as on the officers.”
“And that’s a strong statement,” Chief Moore added.
He later apologized on Twitter: “While correcting myself immediately, I realized that my initial words were very offensive. Looting is wrong, but it’s not the equivalent of murder and I did not mean to equate the two. I deeply regret and humbly apologize for my characterization. ”
He added: “Let me be clear: the police officers involved were responsible for the death of George Floyd.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced in June that his administration would try to cut $ 100 million to $ 150 million from the police budget and look for ways to spend it on other community programs.
Michael Levenson reported.