Police Chief Criticized for Holding Sign Challenging Racism
Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay is fielding criticism after he was photographed during the city’s New Year’s Eve parade holding a sign stating: “I resolve to challenge racism @ work #EndWhiteSilence.”
The chief explained in a letter sent to the entire police bureau on Friday that the sign belonged to an activist at the event. During the parade, McLay stopped at a coffee shop, where he encountered a group and spoke with them “about how implicit, or unconscious bias results in misunderstanding on all sides, and how the need is for dialogue to clear up misunderstanding,” he wrote in the statement. Those in the group asked him to hold the sign, and he agreed to do so, McLay added.
The photo sparked outrage and accusations from some, including Pittsburgh police union president Howard McQuillan. “The chief is calling us racists. He believes the Pittsburgh Police Department is racist. This has angered a lot of officers,” he told KDKA. McQuillan has not responded to msnbc’s request for comment.