Devon Police sergeant is under criminal investigation for ‘sharing racist “altered image” of George Floyd’s arrest on WhatsApp’
- Sergeant is being investigated for gross misconduct over the offensive image
- Other members of group who are officers are also being investigated by IOPC
- Sergeant has been suspended by Devon and Cornwall Police during the probe
A police sergeant is under criminal investigation for allegedly sharing a racist ‘altered image’ of George Floyd’s arrest on WhatsApp.
The sergeant is also being investigated for gross misconduct in relation to the image, which was allegedly posted in the group on May 30 – five days after Mr Floyd’s death in the US at the hands of a white officer.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said the WhatsApp group in which the image was allegedly posted included a number of police officers and staff.
The sergeant is also being investigated for gross misconduct in relation to the image, which was allegedly posted in the group on May 30 – five days after Mr Floyd’s death in the US at the hands of a white officer
Some other members of the group are also being investigated for their alleged response to the image, or their apparent failure to report the matter.
Mr Floyd died after a white police officer held him down by pressing his knee into his neck for almost nine minutes on May 25, sparking worldwide protests.
The IOPC investigation follows a mandatory referral from Devon and Cornwall Police after one of the WhatsApp group members reported the image to their force manager.
Catrin Evans, regional director for the IOPC, said: ‘It will be of considerable public concern that such an image was apparently shared among colleagues by a serving police officer.
‘We are criminally investigating the sergeant who allegedly shared the image, and examining the conduct of some others involved in the group.
‘Our investigators will be considering whether the sharing of this image was motivated by racial discrimination.
‘Devon and Cornwall Police has rightly promptly referred it to the IOPC, and I would like to assure people we are conducting a thorough and independent investigation.’
Assistant Chief Constable Jim Nye said the matter was ‘quickly brought to light’ internally by a member of staff, with a referral made to the IOPC at the ‘earliest opportunity’
The IOPC said the serving of any misconduct notices to those also in the group would be ‘kept under review’.
Devon and Cornwall Police said the sergeant under investigation had been suspended as an interim measure.
Assistant Chief Constable Jim Nye said the matter was ‘quickly brought to light’ internally by a member of staff, with a referral made to the IOPC at the ‘earliest opportunity’.
He said the force would co-operate fully with the independent IOPC investigation.
‘Devon and Cornwall Police wholly appreciate the concern our communities will have regarding an investigation of this kind. I would reassure them that I, and the Chief Constable, will do everything possible to ensure the matter is dealt with effectively and in a timely manner,’ Mr Nye said.
‘It would be inappropriate to make any judgment or further comment at this stage, but is only right that we show openness and transparency with our communities on this matter, so will continue to work closely with the IOPC during the coming days and weeks.’
The IOPC said that a criminal investigation does not mean criminal charges will necessarily follow.
The serving of misconduct notices advises an individual their conduct is subject to investigation and does not necessarily imply guilt.
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