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Posted at 12:40 PM ET, 04/14/2010

Acting Metro police chief apologizes

By Washington Post editors

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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By Washington Post editors  | April 14, 2010; 12:40 PM ET
Tags:  Racial profiling  
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Comments

The question is: Why is racism inherent and systemic in Policing?

Posted by: kahlua87 | April 14, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the question is: Why do we continue to insist that our area police forces operate in a politically correct, dysfunctional environment that discourages collection of information that would help solve crimes, and brands as a "racist" anyone who requests or disseminates these details?

Posted by: catsrtasty | April 14, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

U. S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Study and Stats from the New Century Foundation.

Blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder,
and eight times more likely to commit robbery.

When blacks commit crimes of violence, they are nearly three times more likely
than non-blacks to use a gun, and more than twice as likely to use a knife.

The single best indicator of violent crime levels in an area is the percentage of
the population that is black and Hispanic.

Of the nearly 770,000 violent interracial crimes committed every year involving
blacks and whites, blacks commit 85 percent and whites commit 15 percent.

----------------------------------
These are just a few actual facts and statistics collected and analyzed by the DOJ and other independent study groups!

Now again: Did the suspect have big lips?

Posted by: Hotelguest0 | April 14, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the question is: Why do we continue to insist that our area police forces operate in a politically correct, dysfunctional environment that discourages collection of information that would help solve crimes, and brands as a "racist" anyone who requests or disseminates these details?

Posted by: catsrtasty

I guess when its not aimed at your race then you dont have a problem with it. Maybe if the memo used flat butt, smelly greasy straight hair and big nose, or how about slant eyes or wrinkled leather like red skin, or toothless hillbilly looking too to help solve crimes when describing other races of people. Be on the lookout for a smelly redneck hillbilly looking guy. Would you be comfortable with that as a valid description of someone white?

Posted by: ged0386 | April 14, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

catsrtasty

How about if they use dumb acting, blonde hair as an official description regarding some white woman? Keep trying to uphold the wrong side of an debate.

Hotelguest0

I love when some white person uses statistics to justify their feelings involving race without acknowledging that if one race is targeted more in the first place then the statistics will almost always show that the race targeted will be the race that is arrested, procecuted and incarcerated more. The old ends justify the means therefore it must be true theory. I tell you what, I bet if I send a jump out squad in adams morgan DC on a Saturday night after the clubs let out and have them randomly shake down groups of three white guys, how many of them can I get arrestable offenses off of? They will be drunk, they will have drugs, they will act unruly. But the difference is the jump outs dont target adams morgan where the white guys are, they cruise Georgia Avenue shaking down groups of three black guys at a time so at the end of the evening who are in the jails? Bingo. There is how you get your statistics. I bet a white guys knows just as many white potheads as a black guy knows black ones but the black guys knows more potheads with possession charges. Why do you think that is statistics guy? Why guys drink and drive, white guys smoke plenty of pot and do plenty of drugs. You are probably one of them, but they dont get caught with drugs and drinking and driving as much because the police dont target them as much in the first place. This aint rocket science. Lets use another example, dont you know plenty of white guys who are good at basketball? Why is the NBA full of black guys and very few white americans? Because coaches and scouts target them over the white guys based on their stereotypes. Now I could use statistics to justify me feeling that black guys are somehow better at ball than white guys based on race. Would that make it true?

Posted by: ged0386 | April 14, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Hotelguest0

So if a white female told you she slept with three different black men in her life and all of them had a bigger penis than the white men she slept with would you be willing to use those statistics to say that black men have bigger penises than white men? See, here is where it gets tricky for white men. You like to use your racial bases statistics to justify your racial stereotypes until they dont put you in the light you want to be in. How about this one. More white people commit suicide than black people. Does that mean that white people are more mentally unstable than black people? Lets try this, white people are convicted of white collar financial crimes more than blacks. I guess that means you can't trust a white person with your money as much as a black person? Thats the thing with statistics, they dont explain how they came about, they just give you numbers. Hard numbers that cant explain the entire circumstance that lead to them. Now, did the suspect look like a redneck?

Posted by: ged0386 | April 14, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

With collagen injections big lips one day slits the next :).

Posted by: rlj1 | April 14, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

For those of you who don't remember, Angelina Jolie created a huge traffic mess when she filmed some stupid movie here about a year ago. (by the way, I never heard of anything being released) Who knows what other trouble she was causing in town and so, yes, "big lips", along with lots of tattoos, a huge ego, and no brain would all help identify her.

Posted by: blankspace | April 14, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

You might as well trust the black guy with your money; he just put a gun in your face and took it from you!

"white people are convicted of white collar financial crimes more than blacks. I guess that means" that white people have jobs that control access to funds and need to be clever to abscond with money and not just use a gun to crib small change.

Black guys do have larger penii that why Tiger got 15 white women, Tiki got at least one and lindsy Czarniak is bumping uglies with Craig Melvin; you don't think quality stuff like that settles for middle of the road puny penii, do you?

Posted by: ronjaboy | April 14, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

the initial training memo was amended to replace the controversial language with "facial scar or tattoo."....Now what is controversial regarding asking about whether or not the subject had visible facial scars or tattoos. With all the ink be spread on bodies these day, that appears to be a very pertinent question to ask a witness or victim.

Posted by: snake_taylor | April 14, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

If asked if their nose was big could that be profiling Italians, Greeks or Jews? Sorry to all but I think it's funny.

Posted by: haysgirl66 | April 14, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Is it racial profiling to ask eye color? The stereotype would seem to be that only white people would have eyes that are blue or green. [I'm not saying that's the case; I'm saying that's the stereotype.]

Overall, I think EVERYONE of ANY race benefits if we can simply ask witnesses to describe the subject as best they can, period.

Could the police have been smarter in their phrasing of the training memo? Absolutely. Do they have more important work to do fighting crime instead of spending a lot of time explaining their stupid mistake 85 different ways to people looking for them to step in it again? You bet.

We all know that the cops totally screwed up on this one, but if we force them to spend the next 3 weeks putting out fires about this stupid memo, that's three weeks that they aren't arresting drug dealers or and other criminals that lurk in our neighborhoods. (I have little confidence in the DC police anyway, but give me a break -- the meager amount of crimefighting we get out of them is sure to dissolve if we force them to spend the next 3 weeks in a sensitivity training media spectacle).

Posted by: yanas_girl | April 14, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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