A Michigan police department claims that a recent photoshopped image of a police vehicle was made to connect with local youth, but others have perceived it as racially insensitive and offensive.
“We’ve found though, that we are still struggling to really reach the younger folk out there. So in an effort to bridge that gap, we’ve decided to update our patrol car graphics,” the police department wrote on Facebook.
Although the department later claimed that it was a joke — it admitted that the vehicles weren’t real, with the POPO cars made with MS Paint — a number of commenters were mixed on the image, with some criticizing it for being racially insensitive.
“The fact that it’s ‘just a joke’ doesn’t make it any less ignorant or the Bath Township Police Department any less dismissive of the racist and classist undertones of the ‘joke,'” one user wrote. “…maybe even try interacting with black youth who literally fear for their lives around cops to demonstrate that not all officers are monsters to be feared, rather than mocking their legitimate fear with ‘Popo’ vehicle jokes?”
“Maybe you could, I dunno – stop participating in the failed war on (some) drugs – or maybe start conducting yourselves in a way that is compatible with the Bill of Rights?” another user wrote.