Police in North Carolina were being accused of racial insensitivity over a stuffed animal. At issue was the stuffed monkey with dreadlocks displayed in the back of an officer’s patrol car. After the racially charged images were filmed and posted to Facebook, the Winston-Salem Police Department issued an apology and with the promise of making changes.
The below video was posted to the Facebook account of Divine Deva, who accompanied the post with an appropriate caption.
“It’s To Early For This. I’m So Pissed,” the post said. “And The Worst Part Was My Son Was The One That Pointed It Out. This Is Way To Close To Home. Y’all Share This So People Know The Truth About How They Really Feel!”
Winston-Salem Police Chief Catrina Thompson said she was sorry.
“In the future, we will confirm our stuffed animals are not offensive,” Thompson said. “I apologize to any community member that found this circumstance to be offensive.”
Thompson also claimed officers carry stuffed animals in their cars to “calm children who have been traumatized by anything from a fire to an act of violence. She said an investigation showed there was no ill intent behind the placement of the stuffed monkey in the police car.” She claimed it is a program that has existed for 20 years. However, the woman who filmed the video maintains the police shouldn’t “put a monkey with a Rastafarian hat” and dreadlocks in the back of a white officer’s police car. “It makes me question his intent toward the Black men in my community,” she told the Winston Salem Journal.
Thompson’s apology continued: “I realize that citizens have found the display of the monkey stuffed animal appearing to be riding in the rear seat of a marked patrol car to be offensive. The stuffed animals have proven to be a successful initiative for the WSPD.
“We have taken administrative actions to change the appearance of the display of the stuffed animal, specifically the monkey, to ensure no one else is offended. I assure you this will not reoccur.”