Acting Metro police chief apologizes
Metro's acting police chief has issued an apology for a training memo that sparked accusations of racial profiling because it told officers to ask crime victims if robbers had "large lips," the Washington Examiner reports.
Chief Jeri Lee's apology letter said that the physical description, first reported by the Washington Examiner, "on face value was at the very least, insensitive."
Justin Keating, attorney for the police union, said Lee initially refused to acknowledge the language might have been offensive when he met with union officials late last month. However, the same day the Examiner's article ran, Lee sent the apology to his staff, with the subject heading "The Examiner Newspaper Article."
"We apologize for any offense and will do our best to ensure publications are free from insensitive and/or offensive information in the future," he wrote.
Lee said he asked for top brass to be allowed to attend a union meeting on the matter to "reinforce our commitment to Civil Rights, diversity, and cultural sensitivity," the Examiner reported.
Included among the questions for officers to ask robbery victims and witnesses was: "Did you notice anything unusual about the suspect? (i.e. large lips)." It was the only physical descriptor listed.
Some officers objected, saying it was offensive to single out a stereotype of black people as the sole description used to identify criminals. After the officers complained, the initial training memo was amended to replace the controversial language with "facial scar or tattoo."
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