Police officer fired after posting 'racially charged' Snapchat message
A rookie police officer from Detroit has been terminated from his position after allegedly posting what was considered to be "racially charged" content on Snapchat.
Sean Bostwick, who is 27 years old, had only been on the force for about 18 months at the time of the incident, but his superior officers did not want to take any chances in letting him continue working for the department.
The offending content was a selfie taken by Bostwick, accompanied by the caption: "Another night to Rangel [sic] up these zoo animals".
In a different context, such a statement might not have been taken as racist. However, seeing as the city of Detroit is approximately 80 per cent black, the sentiment was considered to be overtly offensive towards people of colour. This, coupled with the large amount of racist accusations levelled at US police officers in recent years, prompted senior officers to fire Bostwick immediately.
"He was terminated," Police Chief James Craig said during a press conference on Monday. "This is his last day on our payroll. Tomorrow, he will no longer be a Detroit police officer. He is clear on that."
The incident happened on Saturday, and Bostwick was challenged over it very shortly afterwards. He apparently accepted that the message was offensive, and agreed to take it off of social media. By that point, however, it had already been screencapped and had spread around Instagram.
The officer met with the police chief on Monday morning and was informed that he was being let go from the Detroit PD.
"This is not reflective of this department," Craig insisted at the conference. "We expect a high level of professionalism when we're serving the public."
He also added that Bostwick acknowledged his mistake. "He took responsibility for it. He admitted that he did this. He said he didn't mean it the way it came off."
The incident is yet another blight on the police force's record, with 2018 being yet another year in which white police officers have verbally or physically attacked racial minorities.
Just earlier this week, in fact, it was announced that police officer Amber Guyger had been fired from Dallas PD following the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man named Botham Jean. The killing occurred on September 6th, when Guyger entered Jean's apartment after allegedly believing it was her own.
Jean was 26 years old. Guyger was not arrested until three days later.
In this particular instance of racial abuse, however, the matter was dealt with in a prompt manner because Bostwick was still on probation. If he had been a member of the force for a long time, the situation may have been very different.
Nevertheless, the rookie officer could still be taken on by a different police department - but Police Chief Craig hopes this isn't the case.
"I think any department that hires him will be concerned about this post," he said. "I don't think any city would want to take a chance or risk, but that's between him and a potential employer."
Regardless of what else he goes on to do, Bostwick will have hopefully learnt his lesson from this experience.