18:17 GMT11 May 2021
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    An officer with Michigan's Detroit Police Department was recently demoted and barred from working in the field after he posted a video on Snapchat that ridiculed a black driver whose vehicle he'd just seized over an expired registration.

    In addition to placing restrictions on the tenured officer, identified as Gary Steele, the department is also launching an investigation into the incident, which occurred earlier this week when Steele and his unidentified partner pulled over driver Ariel Moore during a routine traffic stop.

    Local media reports indicate officers seized the 23-year-old driver's vehicle Tuesday evening, and that after Moore declined a ride home from the pair, opting instead to walk a block home in below-freezing weather, Steele took the opportunity to whip out his phone and mock the woman.

    In Steele's Snapchat video, one of the officers can be heard repeatedly saying "priceless" as another remarks that Moore is doing the "walk of shame… in the cold." It later cuts off as one says, "bye felicia."

    The brief recording also included stickers that read, "What black girl magic looks like" and "celebrating Black History Month."

    ​During a Thursday news conference, Detroit Police Chief James Craig called the remarks made in the footage "derogatory," stressing that the usage of the Black History Month reference is "even more problematic."

    "I am angry," Craig told reporters of the incident. "I'm angry because this was a racially insensitive post."

    The police chief also noted he'd reached out to Moore's mother, Monique Mobley, to apologize for the behavior exhibited in the video, and that the department would be waiving fees associated with the car's towing.

    "What they put on there, that's racist," Mobley told local news station WXYZ. "They're demeaning my child for no reason."

    It's also been revealed that in 2008 Steele was hit with misdemeanor charges after he physically attacked his ex-girlfriend, firing a gun near her head. After pleading guilty and completing his probation, Steele was allowed to return to the police force.

    Craig told reporters at the conference that Steele "has a troubling history" and that had he been chief at the time "it would have been a different outcome."

    "His history is troubling. After reviewing his history, without going into detail, there's a pattern and I'm concerned about that pattern," he said. "I will be looking at that and addressing it as well."

    An investigation into the second officer has also been initiated by the department.

    This, however, is not the first time that Snapchat has played a role in the downfall of a Detroit police officer. In September 2018, Sean Bostwick was booted from the force after he shared a selfie on Snapchat with the caption: "Another night to rangel [sic] up these zoo animals." Bostwick was a white officer working in a predominantly black community.


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    Snapchat, Detroit Police Department, Detroit
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