Another photo of a second St. Paul cop crossdressing as a Muslim woman surfaces
Officer Jim Lee's 2010 Halloween costume is making waves more than two years later.
St. Paul cops apparently get their jollies dressing up as Muslim women for Halloween.
Last Friday, a photo purported to be of St. Paul officer Jim Lee wearing a hijab and blackface mask was unearthed on Twitter. Just seven days earlier, a similar photo of St. Paul officer Robert Buth also made the social media rounds.
Buth apologized to "anyone who may have been offended" by his photo. Now, in the wake of the discovery of Lee's photo, which was apparently taken in 2010, the St. Paul PD is promising changes.
After a second photo surfaced this week of a St. Paul police officer dressed in a Muslim woman's clothing, apparently for Halloween in both cases, Police Chief Thomas Smith has ordered an internal affairs investigation and is planning changes in the department.
Smith said officers will be retrained in cultural matters. He also has recorded a message to be circulated department-wide about the oath of office that officers took, conduct unbecoming an officer, and the dangers of officers using social media.
"I don't care if they're on duty or off duty, anything that can reflect poorly on the image of this department or this city, it's not going to be tolerated," Smith said Friday, Feb. 8. "They can have private lives, but they're still officers and they have to earn that badge every day."
The photos were also denounced by St. Paul City Council member Melvin Carter.
"The actions of the officers depicted in these photos are offensive and embarrassing," Carter said in a statement. "Mocking culture, skin color and religion for a laugh may seem trivial, but any behavior that violates the sacred, essential trust between our officers and residents is reckless and inexcusable."
But St. Paul Police Federation President argues too much is being made of the photos (Titus, it should be noted, has a history of publicly supporting officers whenever they get in trouble).
In a statement, Titus said:
St. Paul police officers bring a level of professionalism to the job, as high as you will find anywhere in the country. Officers also have personal lives, just as any citizen. Halloween to most is about being something you are not, laughing at one's self and individual expression. Many Halloween customs could be considered offensive; that does not mean the custom was created with ill intentions. No disrespect was intended.
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