Great Britain

UK police officer charged over George Floyd meme in work WhatsApp group

A police officer has been charged with a criminal offence after allegedly sending a grossly offensive image of the arrest of George Floyd to colleagues.

Sergeant Geraint Jones, 47, will appear in court charged with sending the image by means of a public electronic communications network, contrary to the Communications Act 2003, on May 30 last year.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said the charge against the Devon and Cornwall Police sergeant came after an altered image of George Floyd’s arrest in the US was shared within a WhatsApp group that included a number of other police officers and staff.

Floyd became an international symbol of police brutality and systemic racism after he was killed during an arrest in his home city of Minneapolis on 25 May last year.

Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on his neck for more than 8 minutes, is set to stand trial for his part in the death in March on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

An IOPC spokesman added that they had investigated the image shared buy Mr Jones after it was brought to their attention by Devon and Cornwall Police.

He said: “Our investigation began in June 2020 following a referral from the force.

“At its conclusion in October we sent our investigation report to the Crown Prosecution Service which has authorised the charge.”

The officer is due to appear before Newton Abbot Magistrates’ Court on January 28, the IOPC said.

Additional reporting by agencies

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