A Detroit police officer was demoted after a social media post shows him making racially charged comments about a woman walking in the cold.
As The Detroit News reports, on Tuesday night Officer Gary Steele and his partner pulled over Ariel Moore, 23, for an expired registration. During the stop, Steele had Moore exit her vehicle and informed her that it would be towed.
Social media post shows #Detroit officer #GarySteele making racist comments about African-American pulled over, told to leave her car and walk home in below freezing weather. https://t.co/2mmu8WC0lE pic.twitter.com/ims1LISoyg
— DashingClaire (@dashingclaire) January 31, 2019
As WXYZ reports, Steele then proceeded to film Moore walking home in the cold as he said things like “bye Felicia” and “priceless.” He proceeded to post the footage on Snapchat with captions that read “What black girl magic looks like,” and “celebrating Black History Month.”
As Yahoo reports, Moore is still trying to process the whole incident.
“I’ve never had this happen to me in my life. I’m kind of shocked. I don’t really know how to feel right now. I’m still trying to take it in.”
Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Steele was within lawful right to stop Moore, but the officer’s comments were unacceptable.
Officer Gary Steele and his partner mocked a young Black Detroit woman who they pulled over for expired tags. They ordered Ariel Moore to walk home in dangerously freezing temperatures, recorded her and posted the video with the caption "what black girl magic looks like." pic.twitter.com/AAi2U8lqTv
— Atlanta Black Star (@ATLBlackStar) February 1, 2019
During a press conference on Thursday, Cheif Craig said:
“I’m angry because this was a racially insensitive post…At that point, the officer makes the bad decision to make a Snapchat post saying ‘Bye Felicia’ and that’s derogatory and that’s not what we expect of our police officers. On top of that, she’s walking a very cold night, it’s dark and now in my view, she’s in harms way even if she only lived a block away.”
Craig said that through Steele’s body camera footage the officer could be heard offering Moore a ride, but she declined.
Steele has been with the department for 18 years and has trained other officers, as well. However, this isn’t Steele’s first troubling incident since his hire.
As the Detroit News reports, in 2008, Steel pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for “physically attacking his ex-girlfriend and firing a gun near her head.” He served probation and remained on the police force.
Craig commented on the officer’s criminal history:
“His departmental history predates my appointment. There would have been a different outcome had I been a chief in those years, but I can’t go back and undo what’s already been done. But his history is troubling… There’s a pattern and I’m concerned.”
Monique Mobley, Moore’s mother, also shared her thoughts on the incident. Mobley said:
“What they put on there, that’s racist. They demeaned my child for no reason.”
Craig ensures that the Steele’s actions will not be tolerated and are not a reflection of their police department.
“…I’m not troubled, not disappointed, I’m angry. And then to make the reference to Black History Month is even more problematic in a city that’s 82 percent African-American…Do know this officer will be held accountable for his actions.”
Further, the chief said he has reached out to Moore and Mobley to apologize. The department is also paying to get Moore’s vehicle out of the tow yard.