Video: Detroit cop seizes black woman's vehicle and mocks her while she walks in the cold
What started out as a routine traffic stop for a Detroit police officer and his partner turned into a “walk of shame” for a young Black woman that was recorded on Snapchat.
On the night of January 29th, 23-year-old Ariel Moore was pulled over by Officer Gary Steele and his partner because her registration had expired. The officers chose to have Ariel’s vehicle towed and she was asked to exit the vehicle.
According to Washington Post, police chief James Craig informed reporters during a news conference that body camera footage showed that Ariel was offered a ride home but she chose to walk instead. “She gets to do that, but we get to make sure she gets safely home,” confirmed Craig. What happened after Ariel started walking home has been termed by the police chief as “racially insensitive.”
In a Snapchat video that was posted to Steele’s account, Ariel can be seen walking away from the officers on a snow-covered street. Then the comments from the officers started rolling in. “Priceless,” said one of the officers. “Walk of shame,” said the other. “In the cold,” said the first one. Then one of the two can be heard saying, “’Bye, Felicia.”
To make matters worse, the stickers on the Snapchat video read, “What black girl magic looks like” and “celebrating Black History Month.”
Ariel’s mother, Monique Mobley, got angry when ABC affiliate WXYZ, who were the first to publish the video, showed it to them.
“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,” said a dazed Ariel. Her mother was more forthright in her anger. “What they put on there, that’s racist,” said Monique. “They’re demeaning my child for no reason.”
“This incident is absolutely not reflective [of the department]. This is not acceptable,” said Craig as reported by Click on Detroit. Steele has been reassigned from his current precinct while internal investigations are carried out and has been demoted from the rank of corporal to officer.
The outlet further reported that the department would be paying the towing fees for Ariel’s car and her car was already available for release.
Twitter users felt that Steele’s punishment was a slap on the wrist.
This is not the first time that a Snapchat video has led to a police officer losing his job in the Detroit police department.
According to Detroit News, Sean Bostwick, who was a rookie to the department, posted a Snapchat photo of himself in uniform one Saturday in September. The caption of the photo read, “another night to rangle[sic] up these zoo animals.”
Police chief Craig said that he received dozens of phone calls from other police officers, city officials, and community leaders who were all irate at the photo. Bostwick was initially suspended before he was fired.
New York Post reported that in a news conference Craig said that Bostwick’s sentiment was not reflective of the department.