Wave Wire Services
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Police Department has internally identified an employee who distributed a Valentine’s Day-themed social media post mocking the death of George Floyd, and Chief Michel Moore said this week that he has recommended the person be fired.
Moore told the city’s Police Commission May 18 that identifying the employee responsible is prohibited by state law, but the person was referred to the department’s Board of Rights, its disciplinary appeal board. He clarified to commissioners that when a person is referred to the Board of Rights, they are recommended to be fired.
Activists have been calling for the firing of any LAPD employee who created or circulated the post, which featured an image of Floyd — who was killed on May 25, 2020 after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes — that included the words “You take my breath away.” The police union, the Floyd family attorney and various city leaders also have decried the post.
Moore said the employee received the post from outside the LAPD and forwarded it to another member of the department. The employee who received the post reported the first employee.
The department became aware of the photo on Feb. 12, two days before Valentine’s Day, because a group of officers saw it and were “disgusted” by the post, Moore said. The department inspected all stations for any evidence of the image and worked to identify anyone who was involved in the creation or distribution of the image, which was posted on the Blue Line Mafia Instagram page. The page has since been taken down.
“The family of George Floyd is outraged and devastated,” Project Islamic Hope director Najee Ali said in February at a news conference at the LAPD’s Harbor station, where an officer had made a formal complaint about the post at the urging of Moore.
“It’s despicable and outrageous that there are LAPD employees who are in the workplace mocking the police murder of George Floyd, who died in May after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground under the knee of Derek Chauvin, who was then a police officer in Minneapolis,” Ali said.
Chauvin was convicted on one count of second-degree murder, one count of third-degree murder and one count of second-degree manslaughter.
In February, while discussing the post, Moore told commissioners that some in the LAPD have “extremist” views.
“We must acknowledge that some portion within our profession and by extension within this department has explicit bias and extremist views,” he said. “This is a similar conclusion that the Department of Defense has reached with its forces as it comes to terms with the members of its own armed forces being inside the Capitol this past January.”
Moore added that he believed the vast majority of the department’s personnel serve Los Angeles with “honor, integrity and compassion.”
The LAPD’s union also expressed outrage at the post mocking Floyd.
“The Los Angeles Police Protective League repudiates this abhorrent image and anyone associated with its creation, dissemination, or passive observation of it,” the union said in February. “If that image was created, ‘liked,’ or shared by a member of the LAPD, the chief of police must act swiftly to hold those individuals accountable. There must be zero tolerance for this behavior in our profession, and any police officer who feels the need to be part of any online group that engages in, promotes, and/or celebrates this type of activity should quickly rethink their career choice because they clearly don’t have the judgment, nor temperament, to be a member of law enforcement.”