The photo below is indeed Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay holding a sign resolving to challenge racism at work; McLay himself retweeted the photo from his own Twitter account.
Many Twitter bios make it explicit that a retweet doesn’t equal an endorsement, but the photo, taken at Pittsburgh’s First Night parade on New Year’s Eve, certainly looks like an endorsement of an activist group. KDKA-TV reports that the sign was handed to McLay by a member of Fight Back Pittsburgh.
A group called “WHAT’S UP?!” claims the @endwhitesilence Twitter handle and describes itself as “a Pittsburgh based collective working to create a world that is free of destructive white privilege and oppression.”
Pittsburgh’s police union wasn’t happy with the photo, which it interpreted as calling the police department racist. McLay responded to the controversy with a brief statement, saying the picture simply captured a spontaneous moment:
I was hired to restore the legitimacy of the police department. I did not seek these young activists out. I was stopping for coffee at First Night. Their message is not anti-anybody. It is simply a call for awareness. The photo was a great, spontaneous moment in time. Please join dialogue for community healing.
The photo certainly has inspired dialogue. The spontaneous moment holding a protester’s sign has many declaring their love for at least one police officer, and he seems to be enjoying the adulation.
Time to add disclaimers to that “dead cops” chant in New York and all of the “F*** the police” graffiti in Oakland and elsewhere.
A police officer proposing to team up with Anonymous? That’s something.