San Diego County Sheriff's Department

Deputy Removed From Duty for Sharing ‘Vulgar' Photo: Sheriff's Office

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An internal affairs probe of a member of the sheriff’s department who "shared a vulgar image" is under way, according to officials.

The sheriff's office, which has not released the image nor the name of the deputy involved, began an investigation on June 18, according to Lt. Ricardo Lopez, the department’s media relations director.

"We were so disgusted that an employee may have shared such a vulgar image that within minutes we began to take action," Lopez said in a statement released on Monday. "Hours after being made aware of this incident, the employee was removed from his official duties and had his peace officer authority removed."

Francine Maxwell, the president of the San Diego branch of the NAACP, described the image as "an altered photograph of the 8-minute, 46-second killing of Mr. George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, showing a naked black male porn star kneeling on Mr. Floyd, with the words 'Quit resisting' added."

In her statement, Maxwell demanded the deputy's removal "because this is far from the first time he has shown himself to be an overtly racist and deplorable human being" and alleged his participation in the deaths of two men involved in law-enforcement incidents in the 2000s.

Maxwell told NBC 7 later in the day that San Diego's NAACP office became aware of the situation on July 1 when the office received a manila package in the mail that was sent to the organization anonymously.

"We received a blurred-out picture ... that depicted Mr. Floyd with a caption that was inappropriate and deplorable," Maxwell said

Lopez said that "the sheriff's department does not tolerate any acts or actions by its employees that are a detriment to our core values. We want to assure the public we took the matter very seriously and acted swiftly to put a stop to it."

According to Maxwell, whoever sent the NAACP the package said the deputy who circulated the image was still working and still getting paid.

"We wanted to make sure that we put out a statement today that this behavior -- of business as usual when someone is being investigated-- should not be tolerated," Maxwell said.

A sheriff's department spokesman emailed NBC 7 that the deputy is on paid administrative assignment.

Maxwell said that she believes the person who sent the package in the mail works for the department and wants the NAACP to know the culture has not changed.

Lopez said that the department was making an effort to bring the nearly three-and-week old investigation to "a just conclusion as soon as possible."

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