This Snapchat Got Two Memphis Cops Suspended

July 10th 2016

Lucy Tiven

An inflammatory, racist Snapchat image led to the suspension of two Memphis police officers, FOX13 Memphis reported.

The image — which was exchanged and shared on social media Thursday in the wake of the police killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling — depicted a gun pointed at a cartoon image of a running Black man. The hand holding the gun appears to be white.

The officer who sent the snap and the officer who shared it on social media were both suspended with pay as a result of the Snapchat, pending a hearing.

"The image is disgusting and will not be tolerated," Interim Memphis Police Department Director Mike Rallings, who issued the suspensions, told FOX13.

"We are certainly responsible for the decisions we make, and we are held to a higher standard,” Rallings added.

Rallings, who is Black, said the decision wasn't based simply on his own reaction to the image.

"My job is not shoot off with my first emotion," Rallings said. "My job is to find out the facts, determine if there is a violation, and hold officers accountable."

Fox13 reporter Greg Coy said the department's policies require "employees [to] avoid any conduct which could compromise the integrity of the Department. This includes conduct related to materials posted on personal websites, social media, Twitter, Facebook, ... etc."

A similar social media incident led the Nashville police chief to decommission an officer days earlier, The Tennessean reported.

On Thursday, Nashville Metro police officer Anthony Venable made an offensive remark about Castile's killing on Facebook.

"Yeah. I would have done [five]," Venable wrote, according to a police statement reported by The Tennessean. The comment was taken as a reference to the four or five shots fired at Castile. (Venable said he intended the post to be sarcastic, the newspaper reported.)

[h/t FOX13 Memphis]