RCMP are reviewing the online conduct of a Kamloops police officer after he made blackface jokes on a personal social media account while receiving skincare treatment.
Const. Rupert Meinke posted a photo to his Instagram account during the application of a black skincare face mask with the caption: “Black face session. It’s suppose to help my looks. I don’t think it’s working” with a laughing cry emoji.
The second photo shows Meinke with his face fully covered in the black facial mask and the caption reads: “Is my skin care racist? Micro aggressions matter.”
Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet confirms to Global News that a “review into the incident” is underway and the social media posts in question were shared in May 2020.
Former RCMP officer Chad Haggerty, who posted the screenshots to his Twitter account, called the posts racially insensitive, especially at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement sweeps the globe.
“Any time it is a bad joke, especially now, when police are under intense scrutiny because of racial interactions,” he said. “It just boggles my mind that any officer would post this on a public, easily-accessible platform.”
Haggerty, who is Métis and served in the RCMP for 17 years, said officers need more sensitivity training.
“The RCMP needs to go outside of its ranks and recruit individuals that have specific training in dealing with racial issues, racial education,” he said.
Meinke has since changed the account’s settings from “public” to “private” and it’s unclear if the posts have been taken down.
“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 said.
Meinke also taught police and justice courses at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops part-time in the past. He is not currently working at TRU.
TRU spokesperson Darshan Lindsay says the university is “looking into” the social media posts.
“Our commitment is to create a university where everyone belongs, where we show our respect for one another through our actions and in our words,” Lindsay said.