1041 GMT February 19, 2019
The two police officers, from Minneapolis, the US, have been placed on paid leave from their jobs after decorating their precinct’s Christmas tree with racially insensitive memorabilia, au.news.yahoo.com reported.
Now, the city’s mayor, Jacob Frey, is calling for them to be fired, according to the Associated Press.
The Christmas tree was located at a police station on the city’s North Side, which saw more than two weeks of protests after the fatal Minneapolis police shooting of Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old African-American man, in 2015.
The tree was originally decorated with baubles and lights. However, it is alleged that the two officers redecorated the tree with items that conjure negative stereotypes of black people.
The officers decorated the tree with a cigarette pack, police tape, empty bags of the crispy snacks Funyuns and Takis and a cup from fried chicken chain, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.
A photo of the tree was posted to the internet, sparking community outrage.
“This behavior is racist, despicable, and is well beneath the standards of any person who serves the city of Minneapolis,” Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement.
“The offending party will be fired before the day is over.
“Shifting the culture of the police department requires swift and decisive action.
“Termination is necessary – both to discipline the officer and to send a clear message.”
The mayor later stepped back from his comments, but said he still would like to see the officers terminated, according to local outlet Fox9.
Community activists gathered outside the precinct on Friday, saying the incident tarnishes the holiday season for the neighborhood.
“It’s a modern-day version of a dog whistle, tainted with racism, specifically against the African-American community,” civil rights activist Ron Edwards told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.