White Detroit officer demoted for Snapchat video taunting black woman he pulled over

/ CBS News

Detroit — A white Detroit police officer has been demoted after posting a Snapchat video in which he made derogatory comments about a black woman. He made the comments after he impounded her car, and as she walked away in the cold.

The video that was posted to Snapchat was first uncovered by Detroit television station WXYZ, who identified the officer as Gary Steele.

Steele and another officer pulled the woman over Tuesday for having an expired registration. They impounded her car and she walked away after turning down an offer to be escorted home, according to Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Craig said the stop and the tow were both lawful, but the Snapchat video was where the encounter "went bad." The video shows the woman walking away in sub-freezing temperatures — Detroit's low was 2 degrees Tuesday — with the captions, "Celebrating Black History Month" and "What black girl magic looks like."

The officers can be heard commenting back and forth, "Priceless," "Walk of shame," "In the cold," and "Bye, Felicia."

Detroit police chief takes action over officer's offensive Snapchat post by WXYZ-TV Detroit | Channel 7 on YouTube

Craig said his department launched an internal investigation that could result in anything from a written reprimand to suspension to termination. In the meantime, the 18-year veteran has been demoted from the rank of corporal and re-assigned from his precinct.

"I'm not going to tell you I'm troubled, I'm going to tell you I'm angry," Craig told reporters at a news conference Thursday. "And I'm going to tell you why I'm angry — I'm angry because this was a racially insensitive post."

WXYZ identified the woman in the video as Ariel Moore.

"I've never had this happen to me in my life, so I'm kind of shocked," the young woman told the station.

Monique Mobley, Moore's mother, denounced the officers involved.

"What they put on there, that's racist," Mobley told WXYZ. "They demeaned my child for no reason."

Craig said he has spoken to Mobley on the phone and apologized. He said the department will pay the fees associated with the towing and impoundment.

Craig also referred to the officer's "troubling history." WXYZ reports the officer was charged in 2008 with physically attacking his ex-girlfriend in Canton and firing a gun near her head. He reportedly took a plea deal on a misdemeanor, received probation and was allowed to stay on the force.

"I think after reviewing his history, there's a pattern there, and I'm concerned about that pattern," Craig said. "That's something I'll be looking into and addressing as well."

First published on February 1, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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