DETROIT (FOX 2) - A Detroit police officer has been fired for a disparaging Snapchat post of a young woman during a traffic stop, Detroit Police Chief James Craig announced Wednesday.
Gary Steele of Detroit’s 6th Precinct was suspended after an in-depth investigation into his behavior, as police examined a Snapchat video and other instances where he used terms Craig called “derogatory, demoralizing and degrading, and yes, racially insensitive in the context in which it was used.”
As a result of the investigation, Chief said there were 24 allegations and 11 were sustained in three specific areas: his social media post, the improper characterization of a community member, and knowingly making false statements during interviews with internal officers.
On Jan. 28, Cpl. Gary Steele pulled over a young woman named Ariel Moore for an expired plate on Stout Street near Joy Road on the city’s west side. After pulling her over, Steele asked the woman to get out because he was going to tow her vehicle.
Police say Moore was then forced to walk back to her home, which was a block away in extremely cold temperatures. Steele then posted the video of the woman walking with the caption “What black girl magic looks like” and “celebrating Black History Month." A second Snapchat post is also being investigated involving Steele, Craig said.
Craig said that the stop was lawful, but that towing fees were paid for the woman and that an apology was made to her and her mother. He said the department recognizes that describing the woman in that way has the potential to betray to the trust between police and community members.
Rev. Wendell Anthony said he commends Chief Craig and department for their actions in the matter.
“This is not a paint brush against all of them but the ones that are bad apples need to be eradicated from the department,” he said at the press conference.
The other officer has not been named. He is still under investigation and is currently suspended with pay.