A police officer was stripped of his corporal rank after a Snapchat video surfaced of him saying “Bye, Felicia” to a young girl who walked home in freezing weather after she was pulled over.
Detroit’s ABC affiliate WXYZ published the video made by Officer Gary Steele of the Detroit Police Department, which he captioned, “Celebrating Black History Month” and “What Black Girl Magic Looks Like.”
Steele and his partner had pulled over 24-year-old Ariel Moore for driving with an expired license plate tab and offered her a ride home, saying that her car would have to be towed. Moore did not accept their offer, and as she walked the block or so home in the cold, the men in Steele’s recording can be heard saying “priceless” and that she was doing the “walk of shame.”
Steele, who has worked for the police department for 18 years, posted the video to Snapchat, where it was discovered by WXYZ. The station showed it to Moore and her mother, Monique Mobley.
“What they put on there, that’s racist,” Mobley told WXYZ. “They demeaned my child for no reason.”
“I’ve never had this happen to me in my life,” Moore said. “I’m kind of shocked. I don’t really know how to feel right now. I’m still trying to take it in.”
On Thursday, Police Chief James Craig held a press conference. “At some point, the officer makes the bad decision to make a Snapchat post and in it … he has ‘Bye, Felicia,’ which is derogatory, and that’s not what we expect of our police officers,” Craig said. “And then on top of that, she’s walking on a very cold night, it’s dark, and now in my view, she’s in harm’s way … then to put this insensitive post that does not reflect this department, makes me angry.”
According to the Daily Beast, Craig said, “It could’ve been my daughter, my sister. It doesn’t matter, it could have been anyone.”
Steele has been demoted and was reassigned, according to the Detroit News. The investigation, which includes his partner, is ongoing.
“It’s not acceptable,” said Craig in the press conference. “I’m not troubled, I’m not disappointed, I am angry.”
WXYZ also unearthed Steele’s police record, and in 2008 he reportedly assaulted his ex-girlfriend and fired a gun next to her head. Steele accepted a plea deal, served probation and was allowed to keep his job.
“His departmental history predates my appointment,” Craig said in the press conference, reported the Daily Beast. “I will tell you there would have been a different outcome had I been chief during those years. But his history is troubling. There’s a pattern, and I’m concerned about that pattern. So that’s something I’ll be looking at and addressing.”
A Detroit Police Department spokesperson did not return Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
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