LANSING, Mich. — A Lansing police officer was fired for sending a racist text message to coworkers.
The department conducted an internal investigation after the message was reported by one of the officers who received the text.
Police Chief Daryl Green said in a statement that “the administration does not tolerate discriminatory behavior," but said he can’t provide any further comment because the officer involved is disputing the termination.
The department has not identified the officer.
Mark Fancher, the racial justice project staff attorney at the ACLU of Michigan, says holding officers accountable for racist behavior is critical.
“If there are officers who are a part of law enforcement agencies who are inclined to be racially discriminatory, then it exacerbates a problem that we’re all already too familiar with with respect to the tremendous tensions that exist between police and communities of color,” he said.
Last summer, George Floyd’s killing ignited a racial reckoning across the country. Here in Lansing, Mayor Andy Schor became the target of sharp criticism from communities of color for what they felt was inaction on police reform.
Fancher said reprimanding officers for misconduct is a necessary step toward overhauling departments across Michigan.
“Police culture is very insular. It’s isolated and cut off from much of the rest of the community in many ways,” he said. “When you have these kinds of ideas and attitudes that are present, then they spread and can infect an entire department, so any time it’s detected, it is important to cut it out much as you would early detection of a cancer.”
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