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If an internal investigation finds that officers were involved, "people will find my wrath," said Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore

By Jeff Truesdell
February 15, 2021 02:21 PM
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George Floyd, the man who was killed by police officers in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020.
George Floyd
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An image allegedly mocking the killing of George Floyd with the words "You take my breath away" in a Valentine-like post reportedly shared among officers has prompted an internal investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.

"Our investigation is to determine the accuracy of the allegations while also reinforcing our zero tolerance for anything with racist views," Chief Michel Moore told the Los Angeles Times.

If it's confirmed that officers were involved, said Moore, "people will find my wrath."

Floyd, a Black man, was suffocated and died May 25 after a white Minneapolis officer, Derek Chauvin, placed his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes during a police detention captured on bystander video, in which Floyd repeatedly says, "I can't breathe." At the time, he was handcuffed on the ground and laying on his stomach next to a patrol car.

The incident launched months of protests across the country, some turning violent, and spotlighted the Black Lives Matter movement with calls for police reform and racial justice.

Chauvin, who was fired after the incident, is scheduled to stand trial March 8 for second-degree murder and manslaughter, after an appeals court last week dismissed the prosecution's request for a delay, reports the Associated Press.

george floyd memorial in minneapolis
A memorial at the Minneapolis site where George Floyd was killed
| Credit: Getty

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Three other officers at the scene, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, are facing separate prosecution on charges of aiding and abetting unintentional second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

The LAPD's official Twitter account on Sunday confirmed the department's investigation, prompted by "allegations that an image was being passed around the department and this image was in the workplace," and also "allegations that the post with the image was authored by a department employee."

"At this point the department has not identified any actual postings in the workplace or identified that it was in fact our department employee who created the image," the tweet says. "We have raised the apparent existence of the image and directed commands to survey the worksites for it."

A Feb. 12 written communication obtained by CBS Los Angeles from the commander of the LAPD's Harbor Division revealed the contents of the online post, which it said "depicts a photo of George Floyd, with a caption, 'you take my breath away,' in a valentine format."

The message to "Harbor personnel" continued: "Chief Moore was disgusted by the post and directed that a Department complaint be generated. This was followed by an instruction that supervision reinforce the need for professionalism on our online behavior, as it is a reflection on all Los Angeles Police Officers."

A statement Monday from Ben Crump, an attorney for the Floyd family, said the family is "understandably outraged" by reports about the post.

"This is beyond insult on top of injury – it's injury on top of death," Crump said. "The type of callousness and cruelty within a person's soul needed to do something like this evades comprehension –— and is indicative of a much larger problem within the culture of the LAPD. We demand that everyone who was involved is held accountable for their revolting behavior and that an apology be issued to the family immediately."

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