(TMU) — A photo posted overnight on Reddit went viral and elicited a quick response and apology from the police department whose officers were pictured in the viral post.
The image, posted in the subreddit Bad_Cop_No_Donut, shows two uniformed Mobile, Alabama police officers holding up what they call a “quilt” of what appear to be cardboard signs seemingly confiscated from homeless panhandlers.
A caption accompanying the original post reads:
“Wanna wish everybody in the 4th precinct a Merry Christmas, especially our captain. Hope you enjoy our homeless quilt. Sincerely Panhandler patrol.”
The Reddit post that includes the photo that was allegedly posted on a private Facebook page originally, has amassed almost 1,000 comments in its first 14 hours. The image has also made its way back to Facebook, to Twitter, and to Instagram where it has amassed thousands of shares, reactions, and mostly critical comments.
Imagine taking pride in terrorizing the most vulnerable people in society
The two officers, Preston McGraw and Alexandre Olivier, both recently graduated from the Mobile Police Academy in February 2018 and January 2019 respectively. According to AL.com, the photo was taken inside of a Mobile PD office.
Mobile Chief of Police Lawrence Battiste released the following statement:
“As a police department entrusted with serving and protecting our community, we offer our sincerest apology for the insensitive gesture of a Facebook post by two of our officers where they are holding up a homeless ‘quilt’ made of panhandling signs. Although we do not condone panhandling and must enforce the city ordinances that limit panhandling, it is never our intent or desire as a police department to make light of those who find themselves in a homeless state. Rather, our position has always been to partner with community service providers to help us help those faced with homelessness with hope to improve their quality of life.”
According to AL.com, Battiste has “been an advocate for homeless people in Mobile.”
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