Reports that officers with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) mocked the police killing of the unarmed Black man, George Floyd, have reached his family. Members of LAPD are accused of by making a crude joke about how Floyd was killed as part of a disturbing Valentine’s Day joke.
Floyd was killed in Minneapolis on Memorial Day after a police officer applied deadly pressure on the handcuffed man’s neck for nearly nine minutes with his knee. Floyd repeated the phrase, “I cannot breathe” multiple times as then-officer Derek Chauvin held his knee in place until Floyd was lifeless.
In the LAPD situation, staffers began circulated an image of George with the message, “You take my breath away.” The image was designed to look like a “valentine format” ahead of the February 14th holiday.
The Los Angeles Times reports, of the Floyd family and the hurt these actions have caused.
“This is beyond insult on top of injury — it’s injury on top of death,” said Ben Crump, Floyd family attorney, in a statement on Monday.
“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.”
The local district attorney vowed there would be accountability for this vile act.
“Celebrating the murder of a Black man at the hands of police demonstrates a profound absence of humanity,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said. “The mock Valentine underscores the highly problematic and, frankly, racist perceptions that pervade the law enforcement culture regarding the communities we are sworn to protect and serve.”
The chief of police also said anyone found to have liked or shared that image will be punished, although it is unclear as to what those punishments will be and if they will include firings.
The LAPD has been on record for having a “very racist, brutal and corrupt history the LAPD has with policing Black communities, including and especially the infamous beating of motorist Rodney King in 1991,” according to reporting by News One.
The Los Angeles Times reported the LAPD was investigating 56 instances of police misconduct resulting from last summer’s protests over Floyd’s death and against police racial violence.
This is why a joke mocking a police death that has resulted in a murder is even more tasteless and cruel. Floyd’s family has yet to see justice for his murder. The trial set to begin next month. However, if past is prologue, what that justice looks like for Black victims of police violence, one has only to look at the legacy of the LAPD.