James Watts, a white cop from the West Mercia Police Department in the United Kingdom, will spend 20 weeks in jail after sending racist text messages mocking the death of George Floyd.
Yesterday (June 14), Sky News reported that the 31-year-old married father of one shared “grossly offensive” messages in a group chat with former colleagues at a Warwickshire prison while serving at the police department.
Watts’ charge came after about 10 memes sent in May and June 2020 were discovered by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
According to testimony in Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, the messages included a meme of a kneeling mat with Floyd’s face printed on it and a white dog wearing Ku Klux Klan clothing.
There were also images of Floyd’s death featuring pictures of George of the Jungle and the children’s game “Guess Who?” reports add.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Tan Ikram condemned Watts’ actions, saying, “no doubt you would have received training in relation to diversity and inclusion in that role,” according to BBC News.
Watts pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to 10 counts of sending a grossly offensive or menacing message by a public communication network. He reportedly admitted in interviews that his messages were racist in nature.
Although he resigned during the investigation, Watts has also been added to the College of Policing’s barred list, which prohibits him from policing across the country for life.
As previously reported by REVOLT, Floyd, a Black man, was killed on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis when a white police officer named Derek Chauvin pinned him to the ground and knelt on his neck for over nine minutes during an arrest.
During the fateful interaction, Floyd repeatedly told Chauvin that he could not breathe as bystanders begged the officer to remove his knee and body weight from Floyd’s neck.
Floyd tragically died at the scene. Following global outrage and protests, Chauvin was arrested and later convicted of murder.