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Mayor McDavid calls Columbia Police Officers' Association's Facebook post racially insensitive

Thursday, March 21, 2013 | 4:02 p.m. CDT; updated 8:24 a.m. CDT, Friday, March 22, 2013

COLUMBIA — Mayor Bob McDavid has called a Facebook post from the Columbia Police Officers' Association racially insensitive.

On Tuesday, the officers' association wrote a Facebook post regarding the Columbia City Council debate over replacing its armored vehicle. The post said a "new Mercedes" would be more effective in getting "all the boys in the hood" to leave their houses than an armored vehicle. "I say we roll up in style," the post read.

The association's post was taken down, but the Huffington Post took a screenshot of it beforehand.

On his Facebook page Wednesday night, McDavid wrote that the post showed "breathtaking racial insensitivity that cannot be tolerated." He asked for a "formal apology" from the association.

"We cannot tolerate that attitude in the city of Columbia," McDavid said in a phone interview Thursday. "That is an attitude that doesn't reflect the values of this community."

McDavid said he hasn't received a response from the officers' association.

"I am interested in their response," he said. "I cannot believe this is indeed the culture in the police department. I hope it is not."

Dale Roberts, executive director of the officers' association, did not respond to several attempts to contact him Thursday afternoon.

McDavid doesn't think racism is a problem within the department.

"I know many fine officers," he said. "I cannot speak for everyone in the organization. When you see a post like this, you hope it is an outlier."

Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton's administrative assistant, Rebecca Evans, said Burton wouldn't comment on the post and that inquiries should be directed to the officers' association. She said the association has no connection to the Columbia Police Department.

The association's post follows a decision by the City Council on Monday to delay a vote to fund a new armored vehicle for the police department until its April 1st meeting. The department's current vehicle has been in service since 2001 and is almost 30 years old, according to a report from the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Supervising editor is Richard Webner.


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