In Memphis, Tennessee, two police officers have been suspended for a picture that was posted on Facebook. The image shows a picture of a white person pointing a gun at an African-American child.
In response to the post, Mike Rallings, who serves intern director of the Memphis Police Department, held a press conference to discuss the picture and help restore the community’s faith in law enforcement.
‘I’m angry, frustrated and disappointed that we continue to go down this path. As we move forward in coming days, we seek peace and understanding for the betterment of our entire community.’
He said that the two officers have been suspended and the department is conducting a full investigation into the matter stressing that law enforcement should be held to a higher standard.
‘I will also address today’s incident regarding a disturbing image that was supposedly posted by an MPD officer. At this point two MPD officers have been relieved of duty. The image is disgusting and will not be tolerated. We will conduct a thorough investigation and the individuals responsible will be held accountable. I just spoke to a group of young people at LeMoyne-Owen about decisions and we are responsible for the decisions we make and we are held to a higher standard.’
He also told protesters that he respected their right to demonstrate, but urged them to do so in a peaceful and law-abiding manner.
‘I am not going to ask you not to exercise your right; however I do expect these events, these protests, these candlelight vigils and gatherings remain peaceful and all laws are obeyed.’
Mayor Jim Strickland, who also attended the press conference, urged the community to come together and reject violence.
‘We are shocked and saddened by the loss of life in our country. We call on America to reject this violence and come together to have a peaceful dialogue and make strides to heal.’
Memphis wasn’t the only Tennessee city that disciplined an officer for racially charged comments. The state’s capital of Nashville suspended an officer for a comment he made regarding the shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota. The officer, Anthony Venable, said “Yeah, I would have done five.” He has been decommissioned and is currently under investigation.