Los Angeles, CA – Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officials said the department was investigating the circulation of a Valentine’s Day meme of George Floyd that was reportedly shared between officers in the department.
The bright pink meme featured an image of Floyd and the caption “You take my breath away” in a Valentine format.
Floyd’s death in the custody of Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020 sparked violent riots and looting across the United States, including in Los Angeles.
The Floyd Valentine meme was reported to the department by an officer who saw it and was offended by it, The Washington Post reported.
LAPD Michel Moore said he was “disgusted by the post and directed that a Department complaint be generated,” according to an email by LAPD Harbor Patrol Division Captain Jay Mastick that was shared on social media.
Chief Moore said the officer who had complained about the social media post would be interviewed on Monday, The Washington Post reported.
The chief said the department would investigate exactly where and how the meme was generated – “online or otherwise” – and who may have been involved with its dissemination.
“Our investigation is to determine the accuracy of the allegations while also reinforcing our zero tolerance for anything with racist views,” he told the Los Angeles Times.
Chief Moore said that “people will find my wrath” if investigators confirmed that officers were sharing the image.
He also confirmed that LAPD was already investigating two Instagram accounts that were reportedly linked to officers, the Los Angeles Times reported.
One of the Instagram accounts under investigation is called “Blue Line Mafia.”
The department posted a series of tweets that addressed the Floyd Valentine meme.
“The Department has become aware of allegations that an image was being passed around the department and this image was in the workplace. There are also allegations that the post with the image was authored by a department employee,” @LAPDHQ tweeted on Feb. 13.
A personnel complaint has been initiated and we are pursuing each allegation including interviewing the department member who brought it to our attention.
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) February 14, 2021
“A personnel complaint has been initiated and we are pursuing each allegation including interviewing the department member who brought it to our attention,” the thread continued.
“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,” the department wrote in a tweet. “We have raised the apparent existence of the image and directed commands to survey the worksites for it.”
“If found any employee or supervisor is directed to take possession and identify those present. The Department will have zero tolerance for this type of behavior,” the department further warned in another post.
Floyd died while he was being arrested by Minneapolis police who had responded to a call about him trying to use a fake $20 bill at a nearby deli.
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, well after the suspect had lost consciousness.
The city’s new district attorney weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Floyd Valentine meme.
“Celebrating the murder of a Black man at the hands of police demonstrates a profound absence of humanity,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, who was once an LAPD officer, tweeted.
“The mock valentine underscores problematic & racist perceptions of law enforcement culture regarding the communities we are sworn to protect & serve,” Gascon wrote.