After reports of LAPD officers circulating a mock valentine featuring an image of George Floyd with the caption “You take my breath away,” the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is looking into the matter.
District Attorney George Gascón called the allegations “exceedingly disturbing” in a statement Monday, just days after the Los Angeles Police Department said it would look into the matter.
“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,” Gascón said in a statement. “Actions like these ultimately have ramifications for community and officer safety alike.”
LAPD Chief Michel Moore over the weekend said that the officer who made the complaint was set to be interviewed to determine how the image was first circulated.
“Our investigation is to determine the accuracy of the allegations while also reinforcing our zero tolerance for anything with racist views,” Moore told the Los Angeles Times.
The union that represents LAPD officers called on Moore to “act swiftly” to hold those responsible accountable.
“The Los Angeles Police Protective League repudiates this abhorrent image and anyone associated with its creation, dissemination, or passive observation of it,” the statement read. “There must be zero tolerance for this behavior in our profession, and any police officer who feels the need to be part of any online group that engages in, promotes, and/or celebrates this type of activity should quickly rethink their career choice because they clearly don’t have the judgment, nor temperament, to be a member of law enforcement.”
Gascón applauded Moore’s actions and said his agency “will be looking into this matter to determine if the integrity of any of our cases may have been compromised by biased police work.”
Floyd died after being held down by a Minneapolis police officer for several minutes during an arrest last spring. His death sparked global protests against police brutality, with demonstrators repeating Floyd’s last words, “I can’t breathe.”
In a statement through their attorney, Floyd’s family members said they were “outraged” by the allegations.
“This is beyond insult on top of injury — it’s injury on top of death,” the statement reads. “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 with in the culture of the LAPD. We demand that everyone who was involved is held accountable for their revolting behavior and that an apology be issued to the family immediately.”
Correction: This story and headline incorrectly characterized what the Gascón said about the DA’s office’s actions in response to the allegations. The story has been updated.