British police officer imprisoned for sharing “aggressive” George Floyd memes on WhatsApp


British police officers who shared what was considered “terribly aggressive and racist” through WhatsApp were imprisoned for 20 weeks.

On Tuesday, former West Mercian police officer James Watts was sentenced after a hearing at the Birmingham Administrative Court in West Midlands.

In a previous hearing, he pleaded guilty to sending a terribly offensive message over a public telecommunications network, contrary to Article 127 of the 2003 Telecommunications Act.

Police investigations began in June 2020 after being referred by the West Mercia Police after the military received the information.

The Independent Police Action Authority (IOPC), a non-sectoral public agency in the United Kingdom and Wales, is investigating the most “serious and confidential cases and allegations involving police.” Issue a statement “The content of these messages will confuse many people inside and outside the police,” he said.

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died after a Minneapolis police officer put his knees on his neck and held his back for about nine and a half minutes, while another police officer was handcuffed and lay face down on the pavement. I did. Restraining his lower body, a third officer knelt on Floyd’s back.

Floyd’s death caused mass demonstrations in many countries.

The sharing of such images by a serving officer who ridiculed George Floyd’s death “must have caused serious damage to the police,” said Derrick Campbell, regional director of IOPC.

“Today’s results must serve as a clear reminder that this action, especially from police officers, is unacceptable,” Campbell said. “It is important for officers to understand that it is irrelevant whether such activities are on-duty or off-duty, or on private or public social media networks. The conduct is serious disciplinary or criminal. You may face the consequences of. “

Social media users may be prosecuted in the UK. Article 127 of the Telecommunications Act of 2003 makes it illegal to use public electronic communication networks to send messages or other matters of significantly offensive or vulgar, obscene, or menacing character. Or to have such a message or problem sent as such. “

Last year, Scotland’s Joseph Kelly barely avoided prison after the court found a “terribly offensive” Twitter post about Sir Tom Moore the day after Sir Tom Moore’s death.

Army veteran Moore, 100, went around the yard and raised about £ 33m ($ 40m) for the NHS charity. Kelly has been ordered to repay the community.

In 2012, after six British soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, he was found guilty of sending “terrible offensive communications” when he posted on Facebook that “all soldiers should die and go to hell.” After receiving, Azhar Ahmed received a community order.

Ahmed was fined £ 300 ($ 370) and received 240 hours of community service.

Owen Evans

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Owen Evans is a UK-based journalist who covers stories from a wide range of countries with a particular interest in civil liberties and free speech.

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