The only LAPD officer formally accused of violating department policy by allegedly circulating a social media meme that ridiculed the killing of George Floyd around Valentine’s Day was found not guilty by an administrative trial board.
The decision means the officer, a sergeant who works at the LAPD’s air support division, will not face termination, suspension, or other discipline, as was suggested would happen by Chief Michel Moore when word of the meme investigation became public earlier this year.
“I have no temperament or patience or allowance for them to remain in this organization,” Moore told reporters Feb. 16, before any employees or officers were formally accused of violating policy by distributing the image.
The LAPD confirmed the finding Tuesday.
“The Department respects the disciplinary process and will direct employees to a board of rights where it is believed that termination is the appropriate penalty,” it said in a short statement.
The meme showed a photograph of George Floyd’s face and included the text, “you take my breath away,” police said.
The not guilty decision was made by a panel of three hearing officers at a board of rights, which is an internal trial board that meets, nearly always in private with no outside observers, to consider allegations of misconduct leveled against LAPD officers.
The officer’s defense attorney did not immediately return messages for comment on the decision.
When the meme first became public the officers’ union, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said in a statement the image was, “abhorrent,” and said whoever was responsible should be held accountable.
The League has not commented on the board of rights decision.