Matthew Moriarty was fired from the Daytona Beach Shores police department after they discovered a Snapchat photo of him with words “This is how I celebrate Black History Month” and images of a toy gun, a syringe, and a police car. https://t.co/CpKJV9marY— WKCY-AM (@newsradiowkcy) April 13, 2018
Matthew Moriarty, 24, who had served on the force for two and a half years, sent a Snapchat in February where he drew black hair and a beard on himself and added graphics of a police car, a toy gun, and a syringe, and placed the “This is how I celebrate Black History Month” filter over the image.
Daytona Beach Shores Public Safety Department Director Stephan Dembinsky harshly criticized Moriarty.
“It was a terrible thing to do. It was reprehensible. How do you defend that? How do you stay a police officer when you go to court and testify against the people that put you in jail, and they hold up this picture and ask ‘how can we believe this is unbiased policing?’” Dembinsky asked.
“Every chief in America is going through the same thing, and we have to weed these people out,” he continued.
The department suspended Moriarty after receiving a complaint from one of the people who received the image. They subsequently investigated his arrests and traffic stop history, looking for racial bias but did not find a trend of racial discrimination.
Moriarty’s post illuminates the systemic racial problems plaguing the country’s police. The racist sentiments of Moriarty’s Snapchat highlight the pervasive racial bias that asserts itself in ways ranging from street harassment to fatal shootings. Newsweek reported that black people are three times more likely to be killed by police than white individuals, and this year, 61 black people have already been killed by law enforcement officers.