A Florida police department fired one of its cops Wednesday after he “celebrated” Black History Month with a racially charged picture.
The Daytona Beach Shores Police Department terminated 24-year-old Matthew Moriarty from his position over a Snapchat photo featuring him with an afro, beard, a syringe emoji and police car emoji, Fox 35 reported.
“This is how I celebrate Black History Month,” the photo’s caption read.
The police department launched an investigation into the matter two months ago after one of the people Moriarty sent it to forwarded it to the department.
The department ultimately decided to let Moriarty go.
“This was during Black History Month. It was terrible thing to do. It was reprehensible. How do you defend that? How do you stay a police officer, when you go to court and testify against the people that you put in jail, and they hold up this picture and ask how can we believe this is unbiased policing?” Daytona Beach Shores Public Safety Department Director Stephan Dembinsky said of the department’s decision.
A lawyer for Moriarty said the photo was a lapse in judgement on his client’s part and did not represent his overall views. While the city manager who recommended the firing agreed there is no proof Moriarty is racist, he did not think Moriarty’s behavior should be tolerated.
“There is no evidence that Mr. Moriarty has acted in a racist manner in the performance of his duties or has targeted racial minorities,” Booker continued. “What is clear from the evidence, and as admitted by Mr. Moriarty and his legal counsel, is that Mr. Moriarty engaged in terrible judgment in an area which cannot be tolerated, condoned or explained.”
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