Police officers investigated after 'inappropriate' George Floyd image shared by sergeant on WhatsApp group

A COP is under criminal investigation for allegedly sharing an "inappropriate" meme mocking George Floyd's arrest in a WhatsApp group.

A Devon and Cornwall Police sergeant allegedly shared the altered image of Mr Floyd's arrest in Minneapolis with other cops and staff.

The sergeant allegedly posted in the group on May 30 – five days after Mr Floyd's death in the US.

Mr Floyd died after a white police officer held him down by pressing his knee into his neck for almost nine minutes on May 25.

The sergeant is under criminal investigation by cop watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct to find out if he shared the meme for racist reasons. He is also being probed for possible gross misconduct.

Some other members of the group are also being investigated for their alleged reactions to the photo, or their failure to report it.

The IOPC investigation came after one of the WhatsApp group members reported the image to their manager.

Catrin Evans, regional director for the IOPC, said: "It will be of considerable public concern that such an image was apparently shared among colleagues by a serving police officer.

"We are criminally investigating the sergeant who allegedly shared the image, and examining the conduct of some others involved in the group.

"Our investigators will be considering whether the sharing of this image was motivated by racial discrimination.

"Devon and Cornwall Police has rightly promptly referred it to the IOPC, and I would like to assure people we are conducting a thorough and independent investigation."

The IOPC said the serving of any misconduct notices to those also in the group would be "kept under review".

Devon and Cornwall assistant chief constable Jim Nye said the sergeant has been stood down while the investigation continues. No criminal charges have been laid.

"Devon and Cornwall police wholly appreciate the concern our communities will have regarding an investigation of this kind. I would reassure them that I, and the chief constable, will do everything to possible to ensure the matter is dealt with effectively and in a timely manner," he said.

George Floyd's death sparked the recent Black Lives Matter protests after a video went viral on May 25, showing police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck and back as he pleaded for his life.

Millions of people around the world took to the streets in protest against police brutality after Mr Floyd's death in custody.

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