The Detroit Police Department confirmed on Monday that it had fired an officer and opened an investigation into his conduct after a picture he posted to Snapchat with a racially-charged message went viral.
Sean Bostwick, 27, who worked in the 12th Precinct, posted a photo of himself in his uniform with the caption “Another night to Rangel (sic) up these zoo animals.” He posted the photo directly before starting his shift on Sunday.
Police chief James Craig said in a press conference on Monday that Bostwick admitted to posting the photo. “He expressed remorse” and claimed the post was misinterpreted but Craig said that his explanation “didn’t pass muster.”
Former police officer John Bennett shared the post to criticize it on Sunday and his message went viral. Bennett co-chaired the department’s discrimination committee and released a report on racism in the department last year.
Police said that the department was notified about the post on Sunday afternoon and that Bostwick was suspended “shortly thereafter.”
Craig said that Bostwick was fired on Monday and will be off the payroll beginning Tuesday. “He will no longer be a Detroit police officer,” Craig said of Bostwick.
Craig said that Bostwick was a new hire and was still on probation when the post went viral. Because he was still on probation, he could be fired more quickly, Craig said.
The police chief also stressed that, as a probationary officer, Bostwick never served without a partner.
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