A former police constable who admitted to sending racist memes mocking the death of George Floyd, over text in 2020 has been sentenced to 20 weeks in jail.
James Watts, 31, was working for the West Mercia Police in North London when he sent a string of 10 memes to friends in a group chat on WhatsApp in May, 2020, the same month Floyd was killed by the police, and in June.
Four memes directly referenced Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota – which triggered a wave of Black Lives Matter protests across the world. Also included was an image of a kneeling pad with Floyd’s face printed on it. Other texts from Watts referenced a derogatory term for Pakistani people, the Ku Klux Klan, and racist stereotypes about the size of Black men’s genitalia.
Watts resigned after the memes were reported and the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched a probe.
He pleaded guilty to charges of sending “grossly offensive” messages in a group chat last month. During a sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Watts’ attorney downplayed the messages, saying, “None of the other group members could find an ounce of racism in him.” Watts’ name has been added to the College of Policing’s official blacklist, effectively barring him from working for the police in England or Wales.