A U.K. police officer has been placed on administrative duty after he was caught on camera telling a Black man, “You’d be the first one I’d shoot if I had a gun.”
The video, posted to Facebook on Tuesday, Sept. 12, shows an unnamed West Midlands officer asking 24-year-old Jack Chambers if he was “going to go all Black Lives Matter” on him and his patrol team.
“Yeah,” Chambers replies jokingly.
West Midlands police have since launched an investigation into the incident, which occurred Aug. 24, during a search of the premises at a residence in Coventry, the Guardian reported. The department said it’d received a formal complaint and handed the matter over to police watchdog group, the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
“What was said was not right and the officer has been removed from frontline duties pending further assessment,” assistant chief constable Alex Murray said in a statement. “The officer has already expressed remorse and is very apologetic over his comments.”
“We expect the highest standards of behavior from all our officers and staff, and we will always take complaints from members of the public seriously,” Murray added.
The 42-second clip starts by showing officers speaking to Chambers, who is sitting down smoking a cigarette, and asking him why he didn’t open up the door to let them inside.
“Because I was f-cking half asleep,” the young man responds. “I thought you were gonna come through the window and attack me. I didn’t know who you was. You were climbing up the windows like thieves.”
Chambers goes on to say he’s seen all kinds of videos involving police, seemingly referring to the ones showing officers using brutal and sometimes lethal force against Black and other minority civilians.
“You’re going to go all Black Lives Matter on us, are ya?” the officer asks, after which laughter is heard. “You would be the first person I’d shoot if I had a gun, definitely.”
“Oh, f-cking hell,” Chambers responds.
The video has garnered mixed reactions from online viewers. Many were disgusted at the officer’s words and said he should be fired, while others said it was clear the officer was only joking with the young man.
Last month, a similar exchange occurred in the U.S. when a Georgia officer reassured a female motorist she wouldn’t get hurt because, “Remember, we only shoot Black people.” That officer was ultimately fired.
Desmond Jaddoo, a Birmingham (U.K.)-based community activist, was among the critics calling for the West Midlands officers’ termination, saying police officers are there to set an example.
“My concern as an activist is, taking into account the current climate and deaths in custody and also community relations, this goes no way in building trust and confidence with the police,” Jaddoo told The Guardian. “You don’t not make flippant statements about serious issues which affect communities. This is not locker room banter.”