The Los Angeles Police Department has launched an internal investigation after an inappropriate image of George Floyd, the man killed in Minneapolis custody last year, was reportedly released in the department, officials said.
The image was stylized in an unspecified Valentine’s Day format with the words “You take my breath away,” according to a internal memo posted on Twitter and what Chef Michel Moore told the Los Angeles Times on Saturday.
“The department is aware of the inappropriate post and a complaint has been filed and due to personnel issues we are unable to comment further,” said Constable Rosario Cervantes, spokesperson for the police department. from Los Angeles. Another spokeswoman, Stacy D. Spell, confirmed that “an administrative staff investigation has been opened” but she could not comment on its specific details.
George Floyd, a black man, died in May after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground below the knee of Derek Chauvin, then a police officer in Minneapolis, for more than nine minutes. In the video footage, Mr. Floyd can be heard saying the words “I can’t breathe” more than 20 times. Mr. Chauvin, 44, has been charged with second degree murder and second degree manslaughter.
Mr. Floyd’s murder 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 at times the protests turned into chaos and violence, with looting and the burning of buildings.
In Los Angeles, the protests were reminiscent of the riots that had occurred nearly 30 years earlier after four police officers were acquitted of assault for the beating of Rodney King. The beating, which happened in 1991, was filmed and was one of the first viral videos of a black man being abused by police.
The police department said on Twitter on Saturday that he was aware of the suggestions that the image of Mr. Floyd “was circulated in the department and that this image was in the workplace” and that it could have been “created by an employee of the department” .
The employee who brought the image to the attention of officials will be questioned, the ministry said.
He added that the ministry had not identified “any actual publication in the workplace or identified that it was actually an employee in our department who created the image”, but ordered the orders “to d ‘investigate the construction sites’.
If the image is found, “any employee or supervisor is welcome to take possession and identify those present,” the police department said. “The Department will have zero tolerance for this type of behavior.”
Chief Moore came under fire after he spoke of the looters and said a virtual briefing in June that Mr. Floyd’s death “is on their hands as much as on these officers”.
“And that’s a strong statement,” added Chief Moore.
He later apologized on Twitter: “Although I immediately corrected myself, I admit that my first words were terribly offensive. Looting is wrong, but it’s not the equivalent of murder and I didn’t want to equate the two. I deeply regret and humbly apologize for my qualification.
He added: “Let’s 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 seek to slash the police department’s budget from $ 100 million to $ 150 million and look for ways to spend it on other community programs.
Michael Levenson contributed reporting.