The atmosphere in cities across the United States has been exceedingly tense following the brutal shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, but actions of certain officers are simply exacerbating the situation.
According to Fox 13 Memphis, a police officer in Memphis, Tennessee sent a hideously racist Snapchat to his colleague—a picture of him holding his gun pointed at an emoji of a black man running.
South Memphis Police officer posted this on snapchat & only got suspended? so he gettin his job bck eventually? ??smh pic.twitter.com/N4xNTgegYm— Louie V Gutta (@LouieVGutta) July 9, 2016
Both officers were suspended by the Memphis Police Department, and the police director, Michael Rallings, issued a statement thoroughly condemning their behavior.
“I'm angry, frustrated, and disappointed that we continue to go down this path," Rallings said. "We cannot survive if we do not work together. We are not your enemy, we are your ally…The image is disgusting and will not be tolerated.”
While the officers were suspended, they have not been permanently removed from the Memphis PD, and they are currently still receiving pay, which essentially negates any effect the suspension may have.
The idea that an officer felt comfortable sending such a blatantly bigoted Snapchat demonstrates what Black Lives Matter activists have been espousing through protest since the shootings of Sterling and Castile: There is systemic racism in our police departments and criminal justice system that must be eradicated.
These shootings are symptomatic of this widespread issue and punishing the officers, while necessary, does little to address this, particularly if they continue to receive pay during their suspension.
The officer allegedly sent the photo out of “disgust and anger,” but if anyone should be angry or disgusted, it’s the BLM movement.
Banner Image Credit: Twitter, @HuffingtonPost