A racially insensitive Snapchat photograph was sent by a Daytona Beach Shores public safety officer in February,
Photo: Daytona Beach Shores Police Department
Photo: Daytona Beach Shores Police Department

Florida public safety officer fired for racially insensitive Snapchat photo

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Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety director Stephen Dembinsky received a complaint about Officer Matthew Moriarty’s post. 

Officials said Moriarty sent a Snapchat of himself, driving his car, with a colored-on Afro hairstyle. The photo included a water gun emoji and an emoji of a syringe with blood dripping from it.

A police car emoji is also in the picture, which was captioned, “This is how I celebrate Black History Month.” 

An Internal Affairs investigation revealed that Moriarty never denied sending the picture. 

The other 14 recipients of the picture confirmed it came from Moriarty, according to the order. 

The order said there was enough evidence to prove that Moriarty’s actions were insensitive and damaging to the department. 

Moriarty’s past traffic stops and arrests were examined as part of the investigation and no apparent bias was found. 

After reviewing the Internal Affairs investigation, Dembinsky recommended Moriarty’s termination to the city manager.

“The actions in this case are reprehensible. Nobody who holds these types of racist biases can be an unbiased and effective law enforcement officer, and this type of behavior will never be tolerated or defended by this agency,” he said to the city. “These actions undermined the public trust and only serve to make the job of dedicated officers more difficult.”

The Public Safety Department is now contracting with the U.S. Department of Justice to provide bias training for all of its officers. “I will do everything within my power to assure that this type of incident never happens here again,” Dembinsky said.

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