Two officers from the Memphis Police Department were suspended from duty over a Snapchat picture that showed a gun being pointed at the emoji of a black boy who was running away.
The image was posted online on Thursday, the same night that five officers were shot dead during a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas and following the police shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota.
“The image is disgusting and will not be tolerated,” Mike Rallings, the department’s interim director, said during a press conference on Friday. He added that a “thorough investigation” was underway and “the individuals responsible will be held accountable.”
”We will not stand for this,” Rallings said. “This is a time to heal for all of us.”
According to FOX13 Memphis, one of the unidentified officers posted the image on Snapchat. The second officer then republished it on Facebook because he was stunned at what he’d seen.
“So I came across this on my Snapchat from a fellow officer,” he reportedly wrote. “I don’t know how to take it?”
Police sources told the TV station that the initial poster of the picture could be fired, while the second — who was reportedly only expressing his shock at the image — faced a less severe punishment.
Rallings also called for calm in the city, and urged residents who were attending rallies and protests to remain cautious.
“I am not going to ask you not to exercise your right; however, I do expect these events, these protests, these candlelight vigils and gatherings remain peaceful and all laws are obeyed,” he said.