Detroit legislators condemn police officer's 'racist action' shown on video, call for removal

Detroit Police Chief James Craig speaks about a racist social media post made by one of his officers in February 2019. (WDIV)
Detroit Police Chief James Craig speaks about a racist social media post made by one of his officers in February 2019. (WDIV)

DETROIT – Elected officials across Detroit are uniting to condemn what they are calling the racist actions of Detroit police officer Gary Steele. 

The officials are calling for Steele's immediate and permanent removal from the Detroit Police Department. State Reps. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit), chair of the Detroit Caucus, and LaTanya Garrett (D-Detroit) will be hosting the press conference along with a number of Detroit state Senators, state Reps., city council members, county commissioners and community activists.

Here is the full list of elected officials calling for action:

  • Sherry Gay-Dagnogo
  • State Rep. LaTanya Garrett
  • State Sen. Betty Jean Alexander
  • State Sen. Sylvia Santana
  • State Rep. Tenisha Yancey
  • Wayne County Commissioner Alisha Bell
  • Wayne County Commissioner Irma Clark Coleman
  • Wayne County Commissioner Monique Baker McCormick
  • Wayne County Commissioner Martha G. Scott
  • Wayne County Commissioner Jewel Ware
  • Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield
  • Westland City Council Member Tasha Green
  • Eastpointe City Council Member Monique Owens
  • Romulus City Council Member Virginia Williams
  • Wayne County Clerk Cathy M. Garrett
  • Lavonia Perryman, President, Michigan National Congress of Black Women
  • Kamilia Landrum, Executive Director of NAACP Detroit
  • Kim Trent, President of Wayne State University Board of Governors
  • Attorney Portia Roberson, CEO of Focus: HOPE
  • Mildred Gaddis, host of the Mildred Gaddis Show
  • Donyale Atara, Social Action Chair, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority - Detroit Alumnae Chapter

The officer is accused of posting a "racially insensitive" Snapchat about a woman whose car had been towed because of expired registration. The officer posted the comment, "Bye, Felicia." Detroit police Chief James Craig said that's a derogatory reference to Black History Month.

"I'm not going to tell you I'm troubled," Craig said. "I'm going to tell you I'm angry. This incident is absolutely not reflective (of the department). This is not acceptable."

Earlier this week, Craig announced two officers have been suspended with pay after an investigation into the incident.

"Based on the allegations, they're serious enough to where they cannot serve in the capacity of police officers in the city of Detroit," Craig said.

He made the announcement during a 4 p.m. Monday news conference. He said the suspensions are effective immediately.

"To keep them in the workplace certainly is something at this point, based on the allegations, that I will not do," Craig said.

During the investigation, police learned about a similar incident around Christmas 2017 involving the same officer who allegedly took the Snapchat video, Craig said.

The Coalition Against Police Brutality already is calling for the officer's dismissal.

Watch the original report here:

Woman in Detroit police officer's 'racially insensitive' Snapchat speaks out

Ariel Moore's Pontiac is out of the city impound after a Detroit police officer pulled her over this week.

"I gave him a valid driver's license and my registration," Moore said.

Her plates were expired and she didn't have insurance, so Detroit police said Officer Gary Steele and his partner decided to tow her vehicle.

Moore walked home, and officer Steele recorded her leaving and made comments that many deem offensive.

Craig said body camera footage shows the woman was offered a ride home but refused and walked a block in the cold and dark.

"Walk of shame in the cold. Bye, Felicia," the officer said in the video.

The video was posted with the caption, "What black girl magic looks like." The video also read, "Black History Month."

"Why was any of that even called for? You could have taken my car like you wanted to and went on about your day," Moore said.

Craig launched an internal investigation immediatly and paid to get Moore's vehicle out of the tow lot.

In 2008, Steele took a misdemeanor plea and received probation after being arrested for physically attacking his ex-girlfriend and firing a gun to scare her.

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