Photo of Smiling Police Chief Holding Activists’ Controversial Sign Has ‘Angered a Lot of Officers’

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Pittsburgh’s police chief is embroiled in controversy over a Facebook photo of him holding a sign that many of his officers reportedly believe accuses them of racism, KDKA-TV reported.

During the city’s First Night activities this week, Police Chief Cameron McLay was getting coffee when an activist group called WWhat’s Up Pittsburgh? got him to hold a sign that reads “I resolve to challenge racism @ work #EndWhiteSilence”:

Image source: Facebook/WWhat's Up Pittsburgh?Image source: Facebook/WWhat’s Up Pittsburgh?

The group “believes that racism hurts everyone and that unlearning racism is liberating for all.” (An outfit with a similar credo, Fight Back Pittsburgh, was initially connected with the photo but noted on social media that it’s from WWhat’s Up Pittsburgh.)

Image source: Facebook/WWhat's Up Pittsburgh?Image source: Facebook/WWhat’s Up Pittsburgh?

“The chief is calling us racists,” FOP President Howard McQuillan told KDKA. “He believes the Pittsburgh Police Department is racist. This has angered a lot of officers.”

McLay released this statement in response to the controversy, KDKA noted:

“I was hired to restore the legitimacy of the police department. I did not seek these young activists out. I was stopping for coffee at First Night. Their message is not anti-anybody. It is simply a call for awareness. The photo was a great, spontaneous moment in time. Please join dialogue for community healing.”

McLay has been called to a meeting at City Hall regarding the photograph, KDKA sources said, with one from inside Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration calling the photograph potentially very destructive, with no upside.

But according to TribLive, the mayor’s chief of staff Kevin Acklin said, “The mayor unequivocally supports Chief McLay’s efforts to be out there in the community and discuss very difficult subjects and bulk up morale in the police department,” .

WTAE reported that McLay sent an email to all officers which read, in part:

“The sign indicated my willingness to challenge racial problems in the workplace. I am so committed. If there are problems in the PBP related to racial injustice, I will take action to fix them,” the chief wrote.

“I saw no indictment of police or anyone else in this sign, but I do apologize to any of you who felt I was not supporting you; that was not my intent,” McLay said in the email.

Courtesy of TheBlaze

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