A white Detroit police officer has been demoted from his rank of corporal and reassigned from his precinct after posting Snapchat videos mocking a Black woman who walked home in subzero temperatures after having her car impounded.
According to CBS News, the officer, identified as Gary Steele, and his partner, pulled over the woman last Tuesday for having expired license tags. The officers impounded the car and the woman, identified as Ariel Moore, turned down the officers’ offer to escort her home and started walking in the freezing cold.
That’s all well and good, but it is what happened next that has everyone on edge.
Steele thought it was a good idea to pull up his Snapchat and record footage of the woman walking away as he and his colleague start quipping, “Priceless,” “Walk of shame…in the cold,” and “Bye, Felicia.” The videos were first uncovered by news station WXYZ. To make matters worse, he used premade filters on the social media app, including “What Black girl magic looks like,” and “Celebrating Black History Month in the captured footage.
White DETROIT Cop Gary Steele mocks Black Woman after SEIZING her CAR ' BYE FELICIA ' on SNAPCHAT with STICKERS 'What black girl magic looks like and “celebrating Black History Month.” pic.twitter.com/jc2de8dKsj
— Monroe Muhammad Jr (@noifoi48) February 1, 2019
“I’m not going to tell you I’m troubled, I’m going to tell you I’m angry,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig said at a news conference Thursday. “And I’m going to tell you why I’m angry — I’m angry because this was a racially insensitive post.”
Craig said that the department has launched an internal investigation into the incident, which could result in Steele receiving a reprimand, being suspended, or even being terminated. In the meantime, as mentioned before, he has been demoted and reassigned.
In the meantime, both Moore, and her mother, Monique Mobley, are trying to make sense of what happened to the young woman.
“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, so I’m kind of shocked,” Moore added.
According to CBS, Craig said he spoke to Mobley on the phone and offered and apology, adding that the department will pay for the costs for the towing and impoundment of the vehicle Moore was driving.
Meanwhile, Steele, of course, is under increased scrutiny, with some on social media wondering why he was still on the force in the first place, given that in he was charged in 2008 for attacking his ex-girlfriend and firing a gun near her head. Despite the violent act, Steele was given a plea deal on misdemeanor charges, got off with probation, and was allowed to remain on the force.
Why does Gary Steele still have a job? His 2008 incident should've been enough. On top of making that girl walk home and then mocking her with racist social media posts, he just get reassigned?
— Are You Valet? (@804Scoe) February 1, 2019
What’s even crazier with Gary Steele is that in 2008, he was charged with physically attacking his ex-girlfriend and firing a gun next to her head in Canton. He took a misdemeanor plea deal, served probation and was still able to serve on DPD. Shouldn’t have been on the streets.
— Branden Hunter (@JustCallmeBHunt) January 31, 2019
Fire Gary Steele. Someone like that has no place in law enforcement. Especially after firing a gun near his ex-girlfriends head. How do you justify having that guy as a police officer?
— nate (@NateTracy_) January 31, 2019
Craig did acknowledge that he was “concerned” about the pattern of Steele’s behavior and said he would be looking into it.