DETROIT — The Detroit Police Department announced it is conducting an investigation into the behavior and actions of a Detroit police officer after a video he recorded on Snapchat during a traffic stop was discovered. The troubling video appears to shows the officer, Gary Steele, mocking a 23-year-old African American and Black History Month. In response to this announcement, state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit), chair of the Detroit Caucus, issued the following statement:
“The blatant racism demonstrated by Officer Steele in this video is despicable and unbecoming of a law enforcement officer. And while his cruel, dehumanizing actions toward Ms. Moore are appalling, even more disturbing is that they appear to be part of a long, dark history of attitudes and behavior toward people of color that render him unfit for public service. Although I am glad Chief Craig took swift action to suspend Officer Steele until an investigation ensues, suspension with pay is not enough. I urge Chief Craig to consider the ramifications of allowing an officer with a clear history of discrimination and abuse to continue representing the DPD, and to eliminate his pay until the investigation concludes and he is fired.
“The actions of Officer Steele illustrate the need for cultural sensitivity training for all our law enforcement agencies. Additionally, we need to strongly consider legislation requiring a thorough review and assessment of our police departments to ensure this type of behavior escalates no further, and that we do not ever find ourselves with a more serious situation of racial-charged police brutality or criminality on our hands.”
In addition, state Rep. LaTanya Garrett (D-Detroit) also spoke on the issue:
“It is disheartening to see that in the year 2019, people of color are still being subjected to racism at the hands of those who are charged with the responsibility to protect and serve. Now more than ever, it is imperative that we act to protect hard-working citizens from being subjected to bigotry and racism. I stand with my colleagues in speaking up and out against racism, and I am committed, now more than ever, to working with our community leaders to introduce legislation to ensure justice for those who are subjected to senseless acts of racism.”