"Breathtaking racial insensitivity" -- or satire?
COLUMBIA, 3/20/13 (Beat Byte) -- Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid is demanding a "formal apology" from the Columbia Police Officers Association (CPOA) over a Facebook post he said shows "breathtaking racial insensitivity that cannot be tolerated."
Posted yesterday by a CPOA site administrator, the Facebook note could be interpreted to mean that if Columbia Police Dept. (CPD) officers arrived at a crime scene in a brand of armored vehicle made by Mercedes-Benz, black people would be so taken with the vehicle's swag, they would surrender without incident. Ryan Brunstrom has identified himself as the group's site administrator (see note below).*
"CPD wants a new armored vehicle. Partly because when you drive up in one, people surrender and come out of the house," the CPOA Facebook post read. "BUT...if CPD rolled up in the new Mercedes 6x6, you KNOW all the boys in the hood would come running out the house -- just to admire your ride! I say we roll up in style."
"Ugly Facebook Post From The Police Union In Columbia, Missouri," blared a Huffington Post headline that followed. Dr. McDavid weighed in on Facebook a few hours later.
"I ask for a formal apology from the Columbia Police Officers Association to the citizens of Columbia," he wrote. "The post displays an attitude and lack of professionalism that is unacceptable to the citizens of Columbia. Furthermore, it reflects poorly on the many fine, disciplined police officers in Columbia."
Later removed, the post was "satire, rather than a suggestion," a CPOA spokesperson told the HuffPo. The Columbia City Council Monday postponed a police department request to use criminal forfeiture funds to purchase a new armored vehicle.
*UPDATE: In an email to the Columbia Heart Beat, Ryan Brunstrom claims he did not make the offending post. "I am not the one who posted it," he writes. "It was posted and then deleted by CPOA's Executive Director and CPOA is currently addressing this as a Board."
CPOA Executive Director Dale Roberts has neither confirmed nor denied the claim.