The University of Missouri has fired a police officer after officials discovered a photo of him in blackface, the school said Tuesday.
The MU Police Department officer, Marcus Collins, acknowledged he was the person pictured in a photo of a man in blackface and that the photo was taken before he worked for the department.
“This type of behavior is not tolerated at Mizzou, and we understand how this impacts our entire community profoundly,” MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said in a news release. “Racism, hate and insensitive behavior have no place on our campus. We are committed to our values of respect, responsibility, discovery and excellence, and to making our campus a place where everyone feels welcome and protected.”
The university didn’t release any other information about Collins or the photo. MU said in a news release that it fired Collins “immediately.”
On behalf on Race Matters, Friends, Traci Wilson-Kleekamp said that Collins’ termination is a “demonstration of anti-black culture that resides” in their organization.
“Race Matters, Friends says bravo to MUPD for firing the officer,” she said.
She contrasted the university’s decision to fire Collins to the Columbia Police Department’s decision to conduct a review of Tate that lasted several weeks. That investigation began after allegations surfaced that he made social media posts over the years that were perceived as racist and derogatory towards women and the homeless.
After the investigation, Tate was reassigned to a position with limited public interaction.
“The offenses by both officers are both abhorrent,” said Wilson-Kleekamp. “To say the departments need to do better is an understatement.”
ABC 17 News has requested a copy of the University of Missouri Police Department’s policy to find out if the university acted within its policy.
Spokesperson Christian Basi confirmed that the officer’s actions fell under the university’s policy as a whole, which states, “The personal conduct at all times of any employees of the University shall be of such a nature as not to bring discredit upon the institution. Conduct contrary to this policy will result in the termination of such employees’ connection with the University.”
Collins started with MUPD in January 2018, Basi said. He said MU officials learned of the photograph late Tuesday morning.
ABC 17 News sent a message to Collins’ Facebook account, but his profile was no longer available shortly after the message was sent.
Basi said that even though the photo was taken before he worked for MUPD, the nature of his job as a patrol officer has him interacting with member of the community every day.
“We felt he could no longer be an effective police officer,” he said. “We do not want someone out there representing us at the same time engaging in this type of behavior. This is not something the University of Missouri will allow.”
No formal complaint was made to bring the photos to the university’s attention, Basi said. Title IX discrimination complaints and complaints about MU police can be filed online at the links below: