Sean Bostwick was on the Detroit Police Department for only two months and already has to wrangle up a new job. Bostwick, who is white, was fired by chief James Craig on Monday for racially-charged comments made over the weekend on social media while on duty at the 12thprecinct.
Bostwick, 27, posted, “Another night to rangel up these zoo animals” on his Snap Chat just before his shift was about to begin on Sunday. He was suspended with pay immediately, once Craig learned about his behavior, and let go during a confirmation meeting with Craig and a union representative.
“I’m shocked and appalled,” said Craig at a press conference. “He did express some remorse, but I certainly advised him, in a very strong way, that this has placed a stain, not just on our department, but on the entire organization.”
Bostwick only two months out of the police academy and hired in June of 2017. Since Bostwick was a new hire, he was still on probation when the post went viral. And because he was still on probation, he could be fired more quickly, according to Craig. The police chief also stressed that, as a probationary officer, Bostwick never served without a partner.
“When I look at the 800-plus new officers we’ve hired since I’ve arrived, I’m very proud of the work they are doing,” said Craig. “The vast majority do tremendous work. We emphasize in the academy, integrity and servicing the community. This particular officer did not do that.”
Craig said Monday would be Bostwick’s final day on DPD payroll and will no longer be an official Detroit police officer as of Tuesday, September 25.
Bostwick’s probation was extended, through the recommendation of the commanding officer of the 12thprecinct, due to concerns of adapting to training and low test scores. If Bostwick had not been on probation, he would not have been immediately fired.
The city of Detroit is close to 85 percent African-American and Bostwick’s comments could be taken as him referring to black residents in his patrol area as “zoo animals.” This view of black people as animals, essentially, is more than just a mean name to call someone. It has had violent, history altering, culture destroying effects upon people of the African continent.
Generally, when a new employee is going to be fired, it goes before a Probationary Evaluation Board (PEB), which makes and assessment and recommendation to Craig. But because of the egregious nature of Bostwick’s comments, Craig opted to not hold a PEB and to take swift action.
“While he did express a great deal or remorse and said he didn’t mean it the way it came off, a comment of this nature, especially in a diverse city, is not welcomed,” said Craig. “Being a service organization, we have high expectations of our officers. How do we expect an officer to provide a high level of service when this is how you feel? Those who harbor those type of feelings are not welcome here.”
Craig, who has been in law enforcement since 1977, said he would not recommend Bostwick be a police officer anywhere else.
“I did wish him well in his future success and future endeavors, he just won’t do it in policing,” said Craig