Los Angeles, CA – The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has identified at least one member of its police force who shared a tasteless George Floyd valentine meme and have expanded their investigation into Instagram accounts that reportedly track back to officers.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday that internal affairs had identified the officer and investigators were in the process of interviewing him about the post, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Chief Moore said on March 9 that the officer shared the meme in a text message to another LAPD officer.
The police chief said the officer who shared it could be facing discipline for his actions, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“In my view that constitutes misconduct,” Chief Moore said.
LAPD officials said in February that the department was investigating the circulation of the Floyd valentine 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.
Chief Moore at the time 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.
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.
When he announced the investigation had identified the officer, Chief Moore said investigators had determined the meme was created out-of-state and came the attention of LAPD officers via an Instagram page called Choir Practice, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Officers flagged the post and referred it to the police department brass.
Chief Moore said LAPD was working with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office to try to force Instagram to release the information about the individuals who run the Choir Practice page, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Choir Practice Instagram page, which has since been deleted, posted “racist and prejudicial postings and remarks” that had been flagged as having a connection to LAPD personnel.
The police chief said LAPD and the district attorney’s office were also working together to force Instagram to release the same kind of information about a second account called Blue Line Mafia, the Los Angeles Times reported.
He said the process was discouraging because although what the officers were posting and sharing was offensive, their actions were not criminal.
Chief Moore didn’t say why he thought Instagram could be forced to release the identities of the account holders of noncriminal social media accounts, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The announcements about the progress of the Floyd valentine investigation came the same week that attorneys began jury selection for the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with Floyd’s murder.