Another day, another group of police officers behaving badly — although at least this time no one has died. Four white police officers in Mississippi have sparked incredible outrage on social media after posting a picture of them surrounding a Black suspect with police dogs, resembling a big game hunting trophy photo.
Anger as armed white police officers with dogs pose with captured Black suspect
The officers from Prentiss Police Department took the picture after arresting Eric Boykin for an alleged bank robbery.
— Deborah (@SunjazzD) May 27, 2021
The man involved in the case is Eric Boykin who allegedly tried to rob a bank in the rural county of Hancock.
Newsweek’s Khaleda Rahman reported that when the robbery appeared to be going badly, Boykin fled the scene only to be captured “in a wooded area around 600 yards from the bank after a manhunt involving multiple law enforcement agencies, including the ATF, FBI, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the Mississippi Department of Corrections.”
“After Boykin was arrested, police officers posed for a photo with the man that was later posted online,” Rahman reported. “Boykin, who is shirtless, is seen smiling on the ground with his arms behind his back with four white officers and two dogs.”
Social media users were quick to draw attention to the racist and overall troubling optics of the police department’s photo.
“So either 1) none of the people involved, from the officers to the news station to the staffer who posted this, realized what a bad look this is or 2) they do know how it looks, and that’s why they posted it. Those are the only two possibilities! and they are both very very bad,” tweeted Josie Duffy Rice, a criminal justice system reporter and president of The Appeal.
Other Twitter users were equally dismayed, saying, “I am sitting here in utter disbelief. NO WORDS.”
“This isn’t evidence, it’s not proof of anyone’s injuries (or lack thereof). It’s a trophy,” added a third Twitter user.
When some social media users tried to claim the image wasn’t racist or problematic because of Boykin’s smile, users were also quick to fire back.
“Pretty damn sure the guy with the dogs and guns on him didn’t think he was in a position to object or refuse a request to smile… hence the awkward grin,” said one Twitter user.
“It’s not about race as it’s about the police acting like big game hunters from a [bygone] era,” added another.
The Prentiss Police Department and other agencies involved in Boykin’s arrest have yet to issue an official statement on the photo but it has been removed from the agency’s Twitter feed.