A 13-year veteran NYPD cop has been fired for sending a vile 2020 group text message mocking the death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, the Daily News has learned.
Probationary Sgt. Yonathan Bonifacio, who was fired last December, sent an image of Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck as a white spirit was seen leaving the dead black man’s body, disciplinary documents showed. NYPD.
“Holy crap, I’m finally white,” Floyd’s character says, while Chauvin is pictured replying “You’re welcome.”
Bonifacio shared the message with nine subordinates, two of them black officers, just three months after Floyd’s death sparked mass violence and protests across the country in the summer of 2020.
“Defendant’s release of the image at this time … was akin to throwing a lit match into the base of a powder keg,” reads the 12-page decision by a New York police administrative judge. York. “(Her) actions by him…demonstrated extremely poor judgment and disrespect for human life that is reprehensible and incompatible with police work.”
The officer also shared a separate image that included the words “F— ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’, F— ANTIFA, F— KKK, F— RACISM, F— LOOTING HOODRATS, F— – ANYONE WHO BURNS OUR FLAG”, according to the document.
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Court documents show Bonifacio pleaded guilty last October and subsequently testified on his own behalf in an effort to reduce his sentence, authorities said.
But the efforts of the Dominican-American police officer fell on deaf ears, including the claim that he was offended by the cartoon and intended to add a comment explaining why he shared the material.
“I feel like they are putting words in my mouth,” Bonifacio told the Daily News on Thursday, noting that he himself never uttered the offensive words in the messages he shared. “But what are you going to do? They’re saying I said it, basically.”
The NYPD’s decision made it clear that the department viewed the incidents differently.
“There are certain acts performed by public officials that so irreparably stain the integrity of the official that they are no longer capable of performing their duties in a manner that would prevent further damage to the reputation and mission of the agency they serve.” , it reads in the ruling.
“Defendant, who has associated himself with undeniably racist and insensitive material, has cast a shadow over the perceived integrity of his work product and that of the agency he serves.”
Before being fired, Bonifacio was demoted to officer rank as the disciplinary process unfolded.