Los Angeles D.A. and George Floyd’s family add voices to LAPD mock-valentine photo outrage
Los Angeles County’s top prosecutor and the family of a Black man killed by Minneapolis police last summer have denounced allegations that Los Angeles officers circulated a mock valentine photo of George Floyd with the caption “You take my breath away.”
The LAPD has launched an internal investigation and was scheduled Monday to interview the officer who reported the incident, Chief Michel Moore told The Times on Saturday. No further information was available Monday afternoon, an LAPD spokesman said.
Floyd was killed in May after one officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes as Floyd repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.” His death prompted protests and worldwide outrage, which has been amplified by the allegations of the mock valentine.
“This is beyond insult on top of injury — it’s injury on top of death,” Floyd family attorney Ben Crump said in a statement. “The type of callousness and cruelty within a person’s soul needed to do something like this evades comprehension — and is indicative of a much larger problem within the culture of the LAPD.”
Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón also issued a statement Monday, calling the allegations “exceedingly disturbing,” and saying that anyone involved should be fired.
“Celebrating the murder of a Black man at the hands of police demonstrates a profound absence of humanity,” Gascón said. “The mock Valentine underscores the highly problematic and, frankly, racist perceptions that pervade the law enforcement culture regarding the communities we are sworn to protect and serve.”
LAPD investigating report of George Floyd photo circulating with caption ‘You take my breath away’
If the department confirms officers were circulating the image, ‘people will find my wrath,’ LAPD Chief Michel Moore said.
Gascón lauded Moore’s “swift action” to investigate and said that the district attorney’s office also “will be looking into this matter to determine if the integrity of any of our cases may have been compromised by biased police work.”
The incident was brought to light by an LAPD officer who reported that the photo of Floyd was being “passed around” by other officers, Moore said Saturday.
The union that represents LAPD officers also denounced the mock valentine.
“The Los Angeles Police Protective League repudiates this abhorrent image and anyone associated with its creation, dissemination, or passive observation of it,” the statement said.
“If that image was created, ‘liked,’ or shared by a member of the LAPD, the Chief of Police must act swiftly to hold those individuals accountable,” it said. “There must be zero tolerance for this behavior in our profession.”
The complaining officer was to be interviewed Monday, Moore said, with the goal of determining where and how the image might have come into the workplace, online or otherwise, and who might have been involved.
“Our investigation is to determine the accuracy of the allegations while also reinforcing our zero tolerance for anything with racist views,” the chief said.
If the department confirms officers were circulating the image, “people will find my wrath,” Moore said.
Moore also confirmed that the department is investigating two Instagram accounts that people have reported as possibly being linked to department personnel — including one called the “Blue Line Mafia.”
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