A Detroit police officer thought it would be funny to post a video of a black woman walking in below-freezing temperatures after he seized her car. In the Snapchat video, the “good cop” filmed the woman, claiming that she was doing the “walk of shame” and posted stickers over the images “What black girl magic looks like” and “celebrating Black History Month.”
Officer Gary Steele still has a job with the Detroit Police Department, which is reportedly investigating the incident. Although the police department has confirmed that Steele posted the video, they have only reassigned the officer to another department and demoted him from his rank of corporal. Hopefully, that new department is in the basement of the police building and includes manually cleaning and the disposal of sewage.
According to Detroit station WXYZ, on Tuesday, the officer pulled over 23-year-old Ariel Moore for having an expired registration and seized the vehicle. Moore chose to walk the block to her home, but that didn’t require the officer pulling out his phone to record her trek in below freezing temperature so that he could make fun of her.
The video ended with the officer reportedly saying, “Bye Felicia.”
“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. I’m still trying to take it in,” Moore told WXYZ after viewing the video.
“What they put on there, that’s racist. They’re demeaning my child for no reason,” Moore’s mother Monique Mobley told the news station.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig told reporters on Thursday that he also found the post to be racially insensitive.
“I am angry,” Craig said, HuffPost reports. “I’m angry because this was a racially insensitive post.”
Craig noted that body-camera footage shows that Steele offered Moore a ride home but that the Snapchat post was a“bad decision.”
“On top of that, she’s walking on a very cold night. It’s dark, and, in my view, she’s in harm’s way,” he said, according to the Daily Beast. “It could’ve been my daughter, my sister. It doesn’t matter, it could have been anyone.”
Craig considered the reference to Black History Month to be problematic.
HuffPost notes that this isn’t Steele’s first time being in trouble with the law. In 2008, he was charged with physically assaulting his ex-girlfriend and reportedly fired a gun next to her head.
“He took a misdemeanor plea deal for probation and stayed on the force,” HuffPost.
Craig noted that Steele’s criminal history predates his appointment and added that had he been on the force in 2008, “It would have been a different outcome if I had been chief.”