The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has launched an internal investigation after officers were reported to have allegedly shared a Valentine's Day-style graphic of George Floyd with the caption "You take my breath away." The photo of Floyd and particularly the caption, which most consider to be in extremely bad taste, was being "passed around" within the department's ranks, the LA Times reported.
Floyd died last year due to suffocation during a chokehold after being pinned down by four officers in Minneapolis. His death invited widespread demonstrations across the country, with protesters calling for police reforms. The Los Angeles Police Department is also looking into whether the image was created by a police employee.
In Bad Taste
The image reportedly started getting circulated on Saturday, a day ahead of Valentine's Day, but was reported to LAPD Police Chief Michel Moore only the next day. "Our investigation is to determine the accuracy of the allegations while also reinforcing our zero-tolerance for anything with racist views," Michel Moore told LA Times.
He also said the culprits "will find my wrath" if the probe leads to them confirming that the department is sure that the photograph started getting circulated by some of the officers. LAPD is also investigating two Instagram accounts that people have reported as possibly being linked to department personnel — including one called the 'Blue Line Mafia.'
However, in a statement posted to Twitter, the LAPD said it has not yet identified "any actual postings in the workplace" but will have "zero tolerance" toward such acts. The incident was reported by one of the cops in the department, prompting a probe.
Tracking the Culprit
The department is still clueless if the photo was created by one of the officers as it has so far failed to identify anyone in possession of the distasteful photo. More importantly, the investigating team hasn't seen any original or duplicate copy of the photo. "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," one Twitter post said.
Floyd, who was black, died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for nine minutes during his arrest. Chauvin along with three of his colleagues present at the time of arrest are facing trial for Floyd's killing, which is expected to begin in March.
His death led to widespread protests prompting several states to go for police reforms including banning chokeholds.