The Killeen Police Department internal affairs unit is investigating a lieutenant with the department after he allegedly posted on social media a cartoon meme depicting a white police officer shooting a Black person.
“We are aware of the post and an internal investigation is currently ongoing,” said KPD spokeswoman Ofelia Miramontez in an email on Tuesday.
The city’s police chief decried the post, which was shared on the lieutenant’s personal Facebook page.
“This type of behavior is unprofessional, unacceptable, and does not represent the values of the sworn officers, civilian employees, volunteers and Police Explorers that make up the Killeen Police Department,” said Chief Charles Kimble. “We work hard to strengthen the relationship between the police department and the community, and I hope this isolated incident doesn’t hamper those efforts.”
The meme depicts a drawing of a white police officer, smoking gun in one hand and ticket in the other, standing above a Black person bleeding in the chest area.
“I’m gonna write you a ticket son…DAMN…that ain’t my pen,” the speech bubble reads.
An ex-KPD officer spoke with the Herald about the meme, asserting that it cannot be considered “cop humor,” the unique brand of dark humor that can help officers cope with the stress of the profession.
“It’s the exact opposite of ‘cop humor,’” said Lane Copelin of San Antonio. “That’s an offensive picture and it was heartbreaking to see that it was posted by a lieutenant in a law enforcement agency.”
Copelin served with the department for almost 11 years until he left KPD, and law enforcement, in 2017. He was disturbed by the image and brought it to the attention of the Herald, the City of Killeen and the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce.
The Herald was unable to view the post directly because of privacy settings on the officer’s account; however, screenshots of the meme, showing the lieutenant shared it, were sent to the Herald.
“It shows a person who is partial to one side,” Copelin said.
Copelin said that after the meme was posted, it appeared there would be no consequences, which is why he contacted the newspaper.
“He has had a letter of reprimand, which is a slap on the wrist,” he said. “We have freedom of speech, but there’s a time and a place for everything.”