Detroit, MI – A rookie Detroit police officer accused of posting a Snapchat photo has been fired, Detroit Police Chief James Craig confirmed on Monday.
Detroit Police Officer Sean Bostwick, 27, posted a photo of himself in uniform just before he started his shift on Sunday, the Detroit Free Press reported.
“Another night to Rangel up these zoo animals,” he wrote in the photo caption.
The image quickly went viral, and Detroit Police Chief James Craig ordered that the officer be suspended with pay later the same day.
According to the Detroit Metro Times, the suspended officer then posted a photo of a chair and table sitting in a tranquil forest scene, along with the caption, “Relax and take a break.”
During a Monday press conference, Chief Craig said he directed Officer Bostwick to attend a confirmation hearing, which was held earlier that morning.
“Out of this hearing, he was terminated,” Chief Craig said. “Yes, he did express some remorse, but I certainly advised him in a very strong way that this has placed a stain not just on our department, [but also] the entire organization.”
The rookie officer told the chief he did not intend for the comment to be viewed as racist, but the chief explained that his reasoning for making the post “didn’t pass muster.”
“He took responsibility for it,” Chief Craig confirmed. “He admitted that he did this. He said he didn’t mean it the way it came off.”
Officer Bostwick was hired by the department in June of 2017, and graduated from the police academy just two months ago, according to the chief.
Chief Craig he was proud of the “vast majority” of the 800-plus officers who have been hired during his tenure, but that he was “appalled” and “shocked” with regards to Officer Bostwick’s post.
“When you make a statement like this, what’s the message?” the chief asked. “Those who harbor these types of feelings should know, you’re not welcome here.”
Chief Craig said he received concerns and complaints about Officer Bostwick’s post not only from members of the community and city officials, but also from officers within the department, The Detroit News reported.
“This is highly disturbing,” he noted. “I’ve been getting phone calls from black officers, white officers, male and female officers — and they’re all disgusted. This isn’t reflective of the officers who work in this department.”
Chief Craig explained that, as a new hire, Officer Bostwick was still in the “vetting process” of his probationary period.
“When something happens like this while on probation, we have an opportunity to take very quick and swift action,” the chief said, adding that this was “good news.”
Officer Bostwick will be “off the payroll” as of tomorrow, Chief Craig said.
“He will no longer be a Detroit police officer,” he said. “He is clear on that.”
Officer Bostwick’s probationary period had already been extended beyond the normal requirements, after his 12th Precinct commander expressed concerns about how he was responding to training, Chief Craig said.
His time in the academy was also extended due to “low test scores,” the chief explained.
According to The Detroit News, Chief Craig also said he hopes no other law enforcement agency will hire the former officer in the future.
“I think any department that hires him will be concerned about this post,” the chief asserted. “I don’t think any city would want to take a chance or risk, but that’s between him and a potential employer.”