Robert Buth, hijab-wearing St. Paul cop, apologizes for culturally insensitive photo
Buth: "I sincerely regret that the image, which was never intended to become public, may have been viewed to be insensitive to the Muslim community."
A day after a photo of him wearing a hijab, Target badge, and lipstick created a firestorm, St. Paul K-9 officer Robert Buth apologized yesterday for his ill-advised Halloween costume choice.
St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith later chimed in with a statement endorsing Ruth's apology, so it appears the controversy won't land Ruth in seriously hot water.
Here's the entirety of Buth's apology, which came in the form of a press release from the St. Paul PD:
I apologize to anyone who may have been offended by the recently publicized photo which showed me at a private Halloween party on my personal time.
I sincerely regret that the image, which was never intended to become public, may have been viewed to be insensitive to the Muslim community.
I am proud to be a Saint Paul police officer. I have enjoyed working with all of our diverse communities and look forward to working to repairing any damage which may have been caused.
And here's the statement from Smith that was published about an hour later:
I respect Officer Buth's efforts to apologize to those who may have been offended by the recently publicized photo of him. I believe his apology is sincere and that he will work to correct any negative perceptions brought about by the image.
In his 13-year career with the Saint Paul Police Department, Officer Buth has been recognized by our communities for his service. We expect that he will once again draw upon those experiences as he works to rebuild their trust.
Officer Buth's apology also signifies an understanding that as a Saint Paul police officer, we are responsible for our actions both while on-duty and off-duty.
Fox 9 reports that it isn't clear whether Buth faces any discipline whatsoever. Lori Saroya, executive director for the Minnesota chapter of the Council of American-Islamic relations, has called for the St. Paul PD to provide more diversity training for officers in the wake of the controversy.
In 2003, Buth was suspended for one day after he punched a student while he was working as a school resource officer, Fox reports. But he also received a medal of merit in 2005.
Target has confirmed that Buth worked as an off-duty officer at its University Avenue store in St. Paul. As the photo was circulating around the internet earlier this week, the company announced it was conducting its own investigation into the photo, which a company spokesperson strongly condemned.
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