Interim police chief Lemuel Moore revealed on Thursday that three Wichita officers had been suspended after the police department resumed an investigation into a case of improper, racial, and homophobic texts communicated among a dozen officers.
Additionally, City Manager Robert Layton stated he disagreed with several of Moore’s disciplinary actions shortly after Moore’s declaration. He extended the Moore-recommended eight-day punishments for three officers to a total of 15 days.
When they return, they will be on desk duty and must first pass psychiatric testing before they can resume their regular duties.
A Black police officer who sent the racist George Floyd meme during the 2020 protests, a White officer who forwarded the message to SWAT team members, and a White officer who expressed support for the anti-government militia group Three Percenters, who were involved in the pro-Trump attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, are the three officers who have been suspended.
After The Eagle exposed some of the texts and the absence of punishment in March, the police department revisited the matter.
The photoshopped image of a naked Black man sitting on the head of George Floyd, who was killed after a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, contained jokes about shooting people, references to having stickers aligning with a right-wing militia, and references to having stickers of the same color.
One officer was the only one who was initially suspended for calling former head Gordon Ramsay a tool.
The texts were initially uncovered by Wichita police as part of a Sedgwick County deputy’s domestic abuse investigation. However, the Wichita Police Department didn’t release the texts for over a year before being questioned about them by an Eagle reporter. An hour after the inquiries, Moore, who had been acting chief for just over a week following Ramsay’s resignation, gave Marc Bennett, the district attorney, the texts.
Following an inquiry, it was discovered that two Wichita firemen, three Sedgwick County sheriff’s deputies, and 13 Wichita police officers had sent and received offensive text messages.
Chester Pinkston and Jose Salcido, two deputy chiefs, received no punishment. According to a committee report, Ramsay and the deputy chiefs handled the internal inquiry and subsequent disciplining of SWAT team members improperly.