‘Walk of shame’: US officer slammed for filming freezing black woman after seizing her car
Officer Gary Steele, an 18-year veteran, has been reassigned with the Detroit Police Department while an internal investigation into the incident is carried out. However, the reassignment is not enough for some people who are taking to social media to call for Steele to be fired.
Steele seized and towed 23-year-old Ariel Moore’s car on Tuesday night after he pulled her over for having an expired registration. A Snapchat video, posted by Officer Steele, shows Moore as she walks through snow and sub-zero temperatures while one of the officers says “walk of shame in the cold.”
Adding insult to injury, Snapchat stickers posted on the footage read: “What black girl magic looks like” and “celebrating Black History Month.” It ended with one of the officers saying, “Bye, Felicia.”
Detroit Police Chief James Craig told reporters on Thursday that he was angered by the footage and called it “racially insensitive.” He deemed the officers use of the term “Bye, Felicia” as “derogatory”, and the reference to Black History Month as “problematic.”
Chief Craig noted that bodycam footage shows the officers offered Moore a ride home, but called the Snapchat post a “bad decision.”
“On top of that, she’s walking on a very cold night. It’s dark, and, in my view, she’s in harm’s way,” he said. “It could’ve been my daughter, my sister. It doesn’t matter, it could have been anyone.”
Adding fuel to the social media fire encompassing Officer Steele is previous charges for a 2008 domestic violence incident involving his ex-girlfriend. Steele reportedly fired a gun next to his former partner’s head, but took a misdemeanor plea for probation and was allowed to stay in the force.
Chief Craig called Steele’s past “troubling” and said the crime took place before his appointment: “It would have been a different outcome if I had been chief,” he added.
“When I look at his background and the seriousness of what he was charged with, my question is, ‘What did the department do?’ I can’t go back in time and address that issue. It’s my issue now, but it does raise a lot of questions for me, especially when you look at his prior conduct.”