Ghoulish LAPD Cops Reportedly Share ‘Valentine’ Mocking George Floyd’s Death
It's not a huge shock that officers at the Los Angeles Police Department are accused of “passing around" a photo of George Floyd formatted like a Valentine's Day card with the message “You take my breath away." The brutal murder of a Black man, who begged for his life and cried out for his late mother, is a likely source of yuks among members of law enforcement. I am surprised that an officer crossed the thin blue line and reported the issue. Former New York Times writer Bari Weiss would've advised the cop to keep the matter private, maybe write a disapproving letter, but not be a “snitch."
Chief Michel Moore told the LA Times that the LAPD is conducting an internal investigation "with the goal of determining where and how the image might have come into the workplace, online or otherwise, and who might have been involved."
"Our investigation is to determine the accuracy of the allegations while also reinforcing our zero tolerance for anything with racist views," the chief said.
If the department confirms officers were circulating the image, "people will find my wrath," Moore said.
Moore also confirmed that the department is investigating two Instagram accounts that people have reported as possibly being linked to department personnel — including one called the "Blue Line Mafia."
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement that “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." If the allegations are true, Gascón believes the officers involved “have no place in law enforcement." His office will also investigate whether any of his cases were compromised by biased police work (the answer is “yes").
Even the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents LAPD cops, denounced "the abhorrent image and anyone associated with its creation, dissemination, or passive observation of it."
The grotesque Valentine isn't an anomaly. Cops and conservative politicians have mocked the dying words of both George Floyd and Eric Garner: “I can't breathe." Aurora, Colorado, officers took selfies spoofing how police killed Elijah McClain. A Florida cop who was fired for supporting the January 6 Capitol siege had once reportedly shared a meme on Facebook that depicted a disabled parking space with the caption "BLM activists in Wisconsin paint street mural in support of Jacob Blake."
It's not enough to brutalize Black people. They have to revel in it.
When a Georgia lynch mob murdered Sam Hose in 1899, they peeled the skin from his face and doused him in kerosene. His ears and fingers were cut off. He was stabbed and set on fire. The assembled crowd cheered, because they believed he'd committed a horrible crime and this was somehow justice. Through unimaginable pain, Hose tried to drag himself out of the fire but the mob just pushed him back in. This all took about 30 minutes, and his final words were, “Oh my God. Oh, Jesus." Neither was apparently listening.
It didn't end there. His body was hacked into pieces and passed around the crowd as party favors. An Atlanta grocery store placed his knuckles on display in its window. They also assassinated his character, which should sound familiar. Tucker Carlson said George Floyd died from a drug overdose, and the newspapers in 1899 claimed equally without evidence that Hose had advanced syphilis.
People can't effectively oppress others without first dehumanizing them. It's how they suppress their guilt. The officers who killed George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Elijah McClain should be traumatized and not just because of Black Lives Matter rallies. The cops didn't kill from a great distance, like in a war. They were close enough to hear their pleas and see their tears. This is why we get the memes and the mockery. It's how they can show up for work the next day as if nothing happened, just like the average citizens in Georgia who watched a horror movie up close and never missed a night's sleep.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).