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Detroit police chief says investigation into Snapchat video reveals racial divide in precinct

2 officers fired

DETROIT – In late January, a video surfaced showing an officer mocking a black woman. 

Detroit police began an internal investigation. About a month later, after several protests demanding Detroit police fire Officer Gary Steele. They did just that. Now, a second officer, Michael Garrison, has been dismissed. 

MORE: Second Detroit police officer fired in connection with 'racially insensitive' Snapchat

Limuel Hubbard has lived in his neighborhood for more than 35 years. He has seen the good and the bad, but the behavior of two officers in the 6th precinct, just down the street, surprised even him. 

“It was very poor on their part to react to people like that," he said.

Steele and Garrison are accused of making racist comments towards the community they serve. 

The situation came to light after Steele posted a Snapchat video of a black girl walking. He used the words "Bye Felicia" and "Celebrating Black History" over the video. 

“To call people out of their names like that, it was just ridiculous,” Hubbard said. 

Police Chief James Craig agrees.

“While investigating former Officer Steele, investigators determined that Officer Garrison also repeatedly demonstrated disturbing actions while on the job,” Craig said. 

Craig said the investigation revealed Garrison used racist words.

“Terminology like Jakes, Keishas, homies, terrorists, bye Felicia, ghetto and little Al Quida,” Craig said. 

Craig said that type of behavior will not be tolerated. Meanwhile, Hubbard said he’s glad the two are gone.

“I’m just glad I didn’t run into them, “ Hubbard said. 

From the outside, things looked normal at the 6th Precinct, but  Craig said there are some deep issues on the inside.

“The 6th Precinct is racially divided,” he said.

Craig said the sad truth was revealed during an audit performed on the precinct after the video surfaced.

“Some of the officers that were interviewed felt that the environment contained racial insensitivities. This led to the perception of some members that they were unfairly treated by some supervisors and some command officers,” Craig said.

Garrison is facing allegations of conduct unbecoming, failure to report misconduct, willingly departing from making a truthful statement and neglect of duty. 

Craig said he is making changes within the precinct, starting with leadership positions. 

“There’s going to be some changes at the 6th precinct with some supervisors and some managers that have prior been assigned to that precinct ,and we’re moving forward with that, as well. We don’t hide from these type of situations, we’re transparent and we take appropriate and swift actions. That’s critical,” Craig said.

Mayor Mike Duggan also responded to the firing of both officers.

“I have been speaking regularly with Chief Craig about the very troubling issues being uncovered among some officers within the 6th Precinct. He has taken exactly the right action so far with Officers Steele and Garrison for their abusive treatment of Ariel Moore." I fully support his continued investigation into the deeper issues within that precinct. This type of disrespectful treatment toward our citizens is unacceptable and clearly, the chief is addressing it with the sense of urgency it requires."


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