LAPD finds one officer shared George Floyd ‘Valentine,’ seeks info on social media accounts
The Los Angeles Police Department has identified a police officer who shared a Valentine-style image of George Floyd with the words “You take my breath away” and is in the process of interviewing that officer about his actions, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday.
The officer, who allegedly shared the image via a text message to another officer, could face administrative discipline, Moore said.
“In my view that constitutes misconduct,” he said.
Moore also said that the LAPD is working with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office in an effort to obtain a court order that would force Instagram to provide details about the individuals who operated a since-removed account called “Choir Practice,” which posted “racist and prejudicial postings and remarks” and which other officers had flagged as being somehow affiliated with department personnel.
Moore said a similar effort is underway in relation to a second account that he didn’t name. He has previously said that both Choir Practice and a second account called the “Blue Line Mafia” were being investigated by the department.
However, Moore said he was “a bit discouraged” by a lack of progress in obtaining such an order, which has been difficult in part because the content on the sites, while offensive, is not criminal.
Moore did not say what he thinks would give the police the right to information about who runs a noncriminal social media account.
Moore said the LAPD’s investigation has indicated that the Floyd image was created by someone out of state, and then came to the attention of LAPD personnel through the Choir Practice page. Police officers then flagged it to command staff.
Floyd died after being arrested by Minneapolis police officers, one of whom knelt on his neck. Floyd repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.”
The case galvanized a movement demanding police reforms that spread in mass protests across the country last summer, including in Los Angeles.
Word that the LAPD was investigating the Valentine-style image of Floyd and the offensive phrase brought condemnations from across L.A., from anti-police activists as well as the police union.
Moore on Tuesday called it a “terrible and obscene image” that the LAPD continues to investigate.
“We’re not done with it,” he said.
Jury selection began this week in the manslaughter and second-degree murder trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck.
Moore said that the LAPD is “watching that trial unfold closely” and doing “contingency planning” in case the outcome leads to more protests in Los Angeles.
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