LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles cop who shared a photo of George Floyd with the words “you take my breath” in a format similar to that of Valentine’s Day has been cleared of any wrongdoing and will not be subject to any sanction.
The officer, who has not been publicly named, was found not guilty of any administrative charges by an internal disciplinary panel made up of community members, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed.
Chief of Police Michel Moore had referred the officer to the panel, known as the Board of Rights, in May with the recommendation to fire him. The chief does not have the power to dismiss officers.
“The ministry respects the disciplinary process and will direct employees to a rights board where dismissal is deemed to be the appropriate sanction,” the LAPD said in a statement on Tuesday.
The officer chose to have his case heard by a council of three civilians, instead of two LAPD officers in the rank of captain or above and a civilian panelist. KNBC first reported on the findings of the expert group.
Leslie Wilcox, the officer’s lawyer, said the officer only shared the Valentine to report it to his supervisor.
âThe Board of Rights panel was absolutely right to exonerate the officer based on the evidence in this case. The officer found the meme offensive, neither did he create the meme nor distribute it beyond informing a commander of its existence, âWilcox said in a statement. âThis decision shows that the Board of Rights process is working and that the Civilian Panel is able to put aside political pressure and focus on the evidence it has to make objective decisions. “
Moore had ordered an investigation into racist Valentine in February, swearing that if the investigation revealed that LAPD officers circulated the image, “people will find my anger.”
“Our investigation is to determine the accuracy of the allegations while strengthening our zero tolerance for anything that has racist views,” Moore said.
Floyd, a black man, was killed in May 2020 after Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin pressed a knee on his neck as Floyd repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.” His death sparked massive nationwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality, including in Los Angeles.
Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison last month for Floyd’s murder.