Detroit police chief fires white officer who made reference to ‘zoo animals’

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The Detroit police chief has fired a rookie white police officer who used his Instagram account to make reference to policing “zoo animals.”

Officer Sean Bostwick, 27, reportedly posted a photo of himself on his Snapchat account with the caption, “another night to Rangel (sic) up these zoo animals.”

In a news conference Monday, Craig told reporters that Bostwick was fired.

“This is his last day on our payroll,” Craig said. “Tomorrow he will no longer be a Detroit police officer. He is clear on that.”

According to the Detroit News, Bostwick posted the comments on Saturday and Craig suspended him on Sunday. Hours before Monday’s news conference, Craig met with Bostwick and with a police union representative, according to the news organization.

“This is not reflective of this department,” Craig told reporters. “We expect a high level of professionalism when we’re serving the public.”

Bostwick took his post down immediately but the racist message went viral anyway. The chief said the former officer is taking responsibility for his action.

“He admitted that he did this,” Craig said. “He said he didn’t mean it the way it came off.”

The chief told reporters that Bostwick had been working for the department for about 18 months but spent a lot of that time at the academy because of low test scores, according to the News.

This is not the first time that Detroit’s police department has dealt with issues of race, despite being run by a Black police chief in a predominantly Black city.

A Black police officer is suing the department for discrimination, saying he was handcuffed by white officers in a January 2017 incident in which the white officers called him “dumb” and “idiot.” The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has filed the suit.