A Boston police officer has been suspended after making a video with the tagline, “This summer, black people have met their match.”
The officer, Joseph DeAngelo Jr., will be suspended for six months without pay, police officials announced.
Boston Police Department Commissioner William Evans said he “struggled” with finding an appropriate discipline, according to a BPD statement.
The department described DeAngelo’s actions as “clearly insensitive and immature.” DeAngelo is a four year veteran of the department.
The video was shot to look like a movie trailer and featured another officer, Dennis Leahy, who was not aware that he was in it, officials and DeAngelo confirmed.
Leahy was initially placed on administrative leave when the department was made aware of the video in the beginning of June. During the investigation, DeAngelo went to Internal Affairs and admitted that he made the video without Leahy’s knowledge or approval.
Leahy was then returned to full duty and DeAngelo was placed on administrative leave on June 15 after that admission.
DeAngelo will be suspended for six months without pay and also remain on probation for six months after he returns to work. This is his first sustained internal complain, officials said.
DeAngelo said during the Internal Affairs interview that he made the video “to make fun of [Leahy] like friends do.” He composed it on his iPhone.
Leahy and DeAngelo work together in the B-2 BPD district in Roxbury, which DeAngelo described during the investigation as “a primarily African-American district.”
DeAngelo shared the video via text message with three police officers, a civilian employee and at least six other friends.
DeAngelo wrote an open letter apologizing for the “thoughtless, childish, insensitive and offensive racial references.”
“I understand that the video was hurtful to many people and I apologize for my actions,” he write. “I regret the embarrassment this has caused for the police department and regret that my actions may very well make our jobs as police officers more difficult.”
“We all make mistakes in life, and some are bigger than others,” the letter continued. “I made a big one and ask for your forgiveness.”