Two police officers in the U.K. have been dismissed over “inexcusable” WhatsApp messages—including one that compared Meghan Markle to a racist toy.
PC Sukhdev Jeer and PC Paul Hefford were fired from the Metropolitan Police’s Forensic Services, while allegations were also proven against former PC Richard Hammond.
The trio had shared “vile” messages on a WhatsApp group called “But They Promised,” including one sent shortly before Meghan and Prince Harry’s May 2018 wedding.
The meme was of a “golliwog,” a toy that is among the most famous racist caricatures in Britain. It was captioned: “A sneak preview at Meghan’s wedding dress.”
Commander Jon Savell, of Professional Standards at the Metropolitan Police, said in a statement: “These vile messages were shared in 2018 within a closed WhatsApp group between a small group of officers.
“I hardly need to say it is completely unacceptable for anyone, let alone a police officer, to behave in such a manner. The actions of these three are inexcusable.
“The whole of the Met is focused on rooting out anyone who displays this type of behavior and lets down the Met and the public we serve.
“Behavior like this will absolutely not be tolerated and we are driving that message home to our officers and staff at every opportunity.”
During a misconduct hearing, Jeer said: “The fact that someone out there can create this, that is not a nice thing to do. I posted this on the group not to laugh at it but [to show] that there are people out there who still do this and find it funny.”
However, a misconduct hearing found the allegations against the officers had been proven on July 1 after examining a year’s worth of messages on the group.
The Jim Crow Museum website describes the toy, which was more famous in Britain than America: “The Golliwog (originally spelled Golliwogg) is the least known of the major anti-black caricatures in the United States.
“Golliwogs are grotesque creatures, with very dark, often jet black skin, large white-rimmed eyes, red or white clown lips, and wild, frizzy hair.
“Typically, it’s a male dressed in a jacket, trousers, bow tie, and stand-up collar in a combination of red, white, blue, and occasionally yellow colors.”
Other posts sent on the WhatsApp group between January and December 2018 included a picture of two black men lying next to two white women.
The caption read: “Girls’ trip to Jamaica. One came back pregnant, the other came back with syphilis. (Just kidding, they’re both still missing.)”
Chief Superintendent Marcus Barnett, who leads the Met’s Central East region, said in a statement: “This repulsive behavior understandably damages that trust and I want to apologise to every single member of the public we serve in this area. These officers have, rightly, been sacked.”
In March 2021, Meghan accused an unnamed royal family member of making racist comments about her unborn child.
Prince Harry was also asked whether racism was the reason the couple left Britain and replied: “It was a large part of it.”
He went on to describe a conversation with a person he said was “friends with a lot of editors.”
Harry added: “He said, please understand that the UK is very bigoted. And I stopped and I said, the UK is not bigoted. The UK press is very bigoted, specifically the tabloids. Is that what you mean?
“He goes, no, the UK is bigoted. And I said, I completely disagree. But unfortunately, if the source of the information is inherently corrupt or racist or biased, then that filters out to the rest of society.”