Pittsburgh police chief is in hot water over a controversial photo he recently took holding a sign that suggests cops are racist. According to CBS Pittsburgh, Police Chief Cameron McLay was photographed holding a sign that reads, “I resolve to challenge racism @ work #EndWhiteSilence.”
The photo was reportedly uploaded to the Facebook page for an activist group called Fight Back Pittsburgh. The photo immediately began circulating on the social media network, and has gone viral. Although many people applauded his support of the group, there were many people who weren’t too pleased with his actions.
Many cops were reportedly furious about what the message suggests, and it raises a very controversial question since the sign was held by a prominent individual involved in the internal aspects of law enforcement. The Fight Back Pittsburgh Twitter page reportedly states the group’s purpose is to eliminate “white privilege and oppression,” so of course, many officers weren’t too happy about what the sign possibly means.
— Fight Back PGH (@FightBackPGH) January 2, 2015
Apparently, the alleged “racist cop sign” ruffled the feathers of the Pittsburgh Police Union as well. FOP President Howard McQuillan recently spoke out on behalf of the officers who found the message offensive.
“The chief is calling us racists. He believes the Pittsburgh Police Department is racist. This has angered a lot of officers.”
However, Chief McLay has explained that it’s not what it may seem. He recently released an email statement in reference to the allegations. He explained that the activist group isn’t “anti-anybody,” and their purpose is simply a “call for awareness.”
“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.”
In addition to releasing a statement to the public, Chief McLay also addressed police officers in an email.
“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. 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.”
The group also stated that the intention of the alleged “racist cop sign” definitely isn’t what the media is trying to portray. The sign was for “white people not to be afraid to talk about racism, we are inviting to white people to talk about race.” The Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Kevin Acklin, stated that the mayor also supports McLay’s efforts.
“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.”
Of course, the controversial photo has sparked a debate, because viewers have different perspective and misconceptions about what the “racist cop sign” signifies. While many viewers applauded him for supporting the message, others unfortunately feel his efforts may be in vain. Then there are some who offered other “suggestions” on what should cease in law enforcement.
“This is phenomenonal. Acknowledging there is a problem is the first step.”
“How about putting an end to blue silence.”
“Let’s try ending Hate that’s what’s wrong to much hate in this world. We were all created by one man and we are no different than the other no matter what skin we all breath the same air feel the same sun. This world is filled with so much hate and people thinking they are better than another. Peace is what this world needs.”
What message do you think Chief McLay is sending by supporting the message on the sign? Share your thoughts.
[Image(s) via Facebook]