DETROIT – A rookie Detroit police officer was terminated after posting a recent Snapchat message that officials called offensive. The social media communication made reference to “zoo animals.”
Officer Sean Bostwick, 27, was terminated after initially being suspended for posting a Snapchat photo of himself on Saturday while in uniform with a caption that read “another night to Rangel [sic] up these zoo animals,” the Detroit News reports.
“This is his last day on our payroll,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig told reporters during a news conference. “Tomorrow, he will no longer be a Detroit police officer. He is clear on that.”
Craig said the officer’s sentiment is “not reflective” of the department, which boasted 2,350 uniformed officers as of last year.
“We expect a high level of professionalism when we’re serving the public,” Craig said, adding that he received dozens of phone calls from cops, city officials and community leaders in response to Bostwick’s message, which he admitted posting.
“He took responsibility for it,” Craig said. “He admitted that he did this. He said he didn’t mean it the way it came off.”
Bostwick had been out of the police academy for just two months, despite being on the force for roughly 18 months. He spent the bulk of his time in the academy due to low test scores, Craig said.
Bostwick was apologetic about the post. Nevertheless, Craig said the damage was already done since the message quickly went viral.
“If you feel that way, you’re not welcome here and we’re not going to have any tolerance for this kind of behavior,” Craig said.
Because the officer was still on probation, Craig said he was able to “take quick, decisive action” in the matter. The situation would have been different if Bostwick was a tenured officer.
The chief also warned other departments about possibly hiring the now-former rookie cop.
“I think any department that hires him will be concerned about this post,” Craig told reporters. “I don’t think any city would want to take a chance or risk, but that’s between him and a potential employer.”
Attempts to reach Bostwick early Tuesday were unsuccessful.
One former cop in Detroit, meanwhile, said he was disgusted by the post and agreed with the decision to fire Bostwick.
“We’re out here right now. I don’t see any zoo animals,” retired cop Wilbur Medley told WDIV. “What are you talking about when you say ‘zoo animals’? If he’s looking at us like zoo animals, who is to say he won’t do something bad?”
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