SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A prominent local civil rights leader called on the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Monday to fire a deputy who allegedly shared a “lewd and racist and vile” altered photograph of George Floyd taken from the viral video of the Minnesota man’s death in police custody.
The doctored image showed a nude male “porn star” kneeling on Floyd in place of Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, who kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as the detainee repeatedly protested that he could not breathe, according to NAACP San Diego Branch President Francine Maxwell. Floyd died on Memorial Day.
The words “quit resisting” also were added to the picture, Maxwell asserted in a prepared statement.
“The image was lewd and racist and vile and should disturb anyone with a shred of human decency,” Maxwell said. “It is simply unacceptable (behavior for) a law enforcement officer.”
The deputy, whose name has not been confirmed by the Sheriff’s Department, allegedly shared the photo via email, according to Maxwell. On June 18, he was suspended pending the completion of an internal investigation into the matter, said Lt. Ricardo Lopez, media relations director for the regional law enforcement agency.
“We were so disgusted that an employee may have shared such a vulgar image that within minutes we began to take action,” Lopez stated. “Hours after being made aware of this incident, the employee was removed from his official duties and had his peace officer authority removed.”
In calling for the deputy’s ouster, Maxwell also cited his shootings of suspects in 2005 and 2006, describing them as excessive and unjustifiable uses of lethal force. She said the lawman “must go” because “this is far from the first time he has shown himself to be an overtly racist and deplorable human being” and because “this (doctored-photo) incident shows he has clearly not changed his evil, racist and hate-filled ways and (that) he is a danger to all residents of the county.”
The sheriff’s spokesman said the department’s leaders “understand the public concern” over the episode and “want to bring the matter to a just conclusion as soon as possible.” Lopez said,
“The Sheriff’s Department does not tolerate any … actions by its employees that are a detriment to our core values,” Lopez asserted in a statement issued Monday.