Torquay police officer cleared of breaking law after sharing George Floyd meme

  • Watch Bob Cruwys' report:

A Torquay police officer who was charged with sharing a grossly offensive image has been cleared.

Geraint Jones, who is a custody officer, shared an altered image of George Floyd which the prosecution claimed was likely to offend many people.

During a hearing at Plymouth Magistrates' Court, the judge found although the message was grossly offensive to the black and minority ethnic community, given the context of the death of Mr Floyd, Jones was not aware of the risk he might offend.

The judge agreed he gave an honest account to the trial when he said forwarding the meme was "a clumsy attempt at humour" and in hindsight a stupid thing to do.

District Judge Jo Matson said the prosecution "have not made me sure it was not intended as a joke by Mr Jones".

"I accept that Mr Jones was not aware of, or recognised, the risk, at the time, that the image was liable to cause gross offence to those to whom it relates and I accept he was not aware of or recognised the risk that it may create fear or apprehension in any reasonable member of the public who were to read or see it."

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Steve Parker said: “While the court has found Sgt Jones not guilty, this matter remains subject to an internal disciplinary process.

“Sgt Jones currently remains suspended while this process remains ongoing.

“Devon and Cornwall Police values equality and diversity enormously and we have an expectation of all of our staff to not only mirror this but act as advocates in our communities to support this ethos.

“We are aware of the concerns resulting from this incident and subsequent investigation. Since the matter came to light, we have taken an open and honest approach to engaging with our diverse communities.

"We will continue to do so following this verdict, and I would like to reassure everyone that Devon and Cornwall Police will address and learn from the issues raised in the IOPC recommendations.”

Read more: