Kamloops RCMP reviewing officer who mocked black face - InfoNews

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Kamloops RCMP reviewing officer who mocked black face

The photos shared to a personal Instagram page appear to show Const. Rupert Meinke with the Kamloops RCMP in a charcoal face mask. He compared the skin care routine to black face.
Image Credit: TWITTER / Chad Haggerty
July 06, 2020 - 4:31 PM

A Kamloops RCMP officer is facing scrutiny after posting two Instagram photos that appeared to mock concerns about black face.

The photos appear to be posted by Const. Rupert Meinke, although the RCMP was unable to confirm if he is the owner of the personal social media account. That will be part of an internal RCMP review of the matter. 

Chad Haggerty, a former RCMP officer in northern Alberta and now a lawyer, tweeted screenshots of Meinke’s photos. In the pictures, Meinke appears to have a charcoal face mask applied and asks: "Is my skin care racist?"

“Joking about black face at any time should be problematic. Doing it at the end of May, when these posts were made, when a society is in the midst of an uproar and uprising about racial issues and the lack of compassion by police to racial issues, is stupid at best,” Haggerty says.

Haggerty was alerted of the post by one of his own social media followers. Haggerty says he works to bring light to the issues within the RCMP and hopes to see accountability and change.

“I tweeted about my experiences with systemic racism and individualized racism when I was a police officer,” Haggerty says. “What has happened as a result of that is on a couple of occasions, I've had people flag troublesome or concerning RCMP social media posts and bring those to my attention, and that's what happened with this one. It was actually people from outside of B.C. who flagged it.”

The captions under the photos read, “Is my skincare racist? Micro aggressions matter.” The second reads: “Black face session. It’s supposed to help my looks. I don’t think it’s working.” The Instagram account is now private, and Meinke has not responded to iNFOnews.ca for a comment.

“What I'm trying to show is, number one, there’s a problematic officer to some degree, or hopefully bring the RCMP’s attention to these instances and hopefully have them acknowledge that there is a bigger problem than they are willing to admit. Supt. Syd Lecky in Kamloops, two weeks ago said he didn't think there was racism in Kamloops. Admittedly, this thing with Meinke is pretty low on the scale but I think it's cause for concern.”

Haggerty says as a Metis man, he noticed the racism in the police force and towards civilians of colour. He hopes this incident allows the Kamloops RCMP to acknowledge racism within the detachment and wants to see action taken to educate the officer.

“(He should be) engaging in education sessions so he is more alive to and more compassionate about the plight of black and indigenous and other people of colour... but I would not want to see that coming within the RCMP. I think that would be problematic and it should be an external organization that provides that to Const. Meinke,” Haggerty says.

Sgt. Janelle Shoihet, senior media relations officer with the RCMP E Division, says there is currently a review into the incident.

“Initial review has determined the post you are referencing was posted in May 2020 on a personal social media account,” Shoihet says in an email to iNFOnews.ca “The review remains ongoing and will seek to determine further context, as well as a greater picture of the social media profile in question.”

Shoihet was not able to confirm if Meinke is on leave or if he’ll receive any kind of training in relation to the incident.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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