A Boston police officer got himself in serious trouble by filming a video with the caption, “black people have met their match.”
He has since been suspended for six months without pay and ordered to take sensitivity and unconscious bias training courses as well as meet with community leaders and perform community service.
Apparently, DeAngelo told Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans that the video was meant to be a parody of another officer; however, the other officer in question said he was unaware he had anything to do with it.
Following the backlash and being reprimanded, DeAngelo released an open letter of apology for his “thoughtless, childish, insensitive, and offensive” actions.
In the letter, DeAngelo thanks those who “know” him for supporting him throughout this tumultuous ordeal and insists that his “substantial lapse of judgment” wasn’t rooted in racism.
It’s really the same old story. DeAngelo may or may not actually be racist, but the fact that he found humor in poking fun at a minority group is a big problem either way. Race jokes, no matter how innocent they may seem, are crude and reflect ignorance.
Furthermore, as an officer of the law, DeAngelo must be fully aware of the tense relations between African-Americans and law enforcement, so he should have thought twice about how such a video could be perceived if it ever got out into the public.
His suspension and mandatory trainings are just a slap on the wrist, but he should have suffered more grave punishment so that he truly understands the magnitude of what he did.
In another recent incident, a Florida deputy was fired for gloating about “almost shooting someone” in a Snapchat selfie. The sheriff who made the call to terminate the officer did so because he said he felt the photo sparked doubts about the deputy's mentality while he’s on duty.
DeAngelo’s actions also raise the same questions about how he conducts himself while helping or arresting black people.
Nevertheless, this serves as yet another example of why many minorities do not feel they can trust law enforcement.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Wikimedia Commons, Ben Schumin