In September 2018, Detroit policeman Sean Bostwick, while in uniform, took a selfie in his patrol car and posted it to his Snapchat account with a blatantly racist caption: “Another night to Rangel (sic) up these zoo animals.”
He was quickly fired.
Then, on Monday, Detroit policeman Gary Steele was suspended, along with his still-unnamed partner, for a recent incident—again involving Snapchat. In the video, the officers verbally mocked a black woman named Amber Moore, as she walked home in the freezing snow after the officers impounded her car for expired license plates. Steele posted the video with caption filters that said “what Black Girl Magic looks like” and “Celebrating Black History Month.”
Why did he think that he would get away with it? Because he has before. Investigators have revealed that Steele was involved in a ”similar incident” in December 2017.
His defenders say that he offered to drive her home, yet the young lady did not accept a ride because she was very nervous due to his behavior. Her instincts weren’t unfounded: Steele has a violent history. He was arrested after a domestic violence dispute in 2008, and faced multiple charges that included torture and assault with intent to commit murder. He was able to plea down to a misdemeanor charge that allowed him to keep his job.
Rampant racism infects the Detroit PD. Those aren’t my words as an outsider—that assessment comes from a black Detroit police officer who sued the department, alleging discrimination and retaliation at the hands of white supervisors. A 2017 report also confirmed a racial problem that is ”growing.” The police chief, James Craig, responded by saying most of the findings were based on “perception, rumors and innuendos.”
The department is majority African-American, yet the department’s Committee on Racial Equality stated that certain units are “segregated” and “historically, overwhelmingly staffed by white male officers.” One of these notorious units is the Sixth precinct, where both suspended officers were assigned. An audit is being conducted following alleged ”cultural issues.”
Chief Craig is African-American; but unfortunately, he is a Fox News darling who actually said, in 2014, that Detroit’s problem is that it doesn’t have enough guns. According to comments made in 2015, Craig also seems to subscribe to the ”black-on-black” NRA talking point.
In 2016, the Detroit PD was released from 13 years of federal government oversight, ordered due to the department’s ”unconstitutional conduct.” I think the feds might have left too soon.
Detroit citizens deserve better.