Columbia, MO – A University of Missouri (Mizzou) police officer was fired two-and-a-half hours after a photo of him wearing blackface in a Flavor Flav costume was anonymously given to the university.
Mizzou Police Officer Marcus Collins admitted that he was the man in the Flavor Flav costume, sporting a gigantic clock on a chain, just like the rapper, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune.
“Once we were able to verify it was Collins in the photo and Collins acknowledged that, shortly after a discussion with top university officials, he was terminated,” Mizzou Spokesman Christian Basi said.
The picture was taken before Collins became a police officer, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported.
The university received the pictures at 9 a.m. and terminated Officer Collins shortly thereafter.
But Stephen Graves, the director of undergraduate studies at the Mizzou’s Black Studies Department, told the Columbia Daily Tribune that he felt the school had moved too quickly and said that the picture needed context.
“Any time you have gotten a photo by 9 a.m. and by 11:30 that person is fired, it had to have been a hell of a conversation,” Graves said. “I think you do society a disservice when you don’t allow for conversation and the police officer involved to explain himself.”
“That person needs to step in front of a camera and explain the behavior, the who, what, where, why and when,” he insisted. “You are always going to go back and find something that someone did wrong. How good or bad it is for our society, I am not 100 percent sure. It is going to be hard to find perfect angels to do this job.”
Mizzou Chancellor Alexander Cartwright released a statement condemning the photo, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported.
“Racism, hate and insensitive behavior have no place on our campus,” Cartwright said. “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.”
Former Officer Collins was hired by university’s police department in January of 2018, Basi told the Columbia Daily Tribune.