What to Know
- A member of the Newburgh Police Department posted a racially insensitive image to Instagram
- Members of the town's government condemned the post, as did the police department and unions representing officers
- The post comes at a time of renewed controversy around Confederate flags, sparked in part by the deadly unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia
A New York town’s police department and the unions that represent its officers are denouncing a racially charged Instagram post made by one of its members.
The incendiary post was made on the account of the City of Newburgh Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA), a police union.
According to the Times Herald-Record, the Instagram post shows a Confederate flag with the words, “This does not offend me.” Below the image of the flag is a photo of two men with sagging pants along with the words, “This bulls--- does!”
The post was denounced by the city’s black Council members and by City Manager Michael Ciaravino on Tuesday, the Times Herald-Record reported.
And on Wednesday, two police unions that represent officers in Newburgh — the PBA and the City of Newburgh Police Superior Officers Association (PSOA) — condemned the post in separate statements, while emphasizing efforts police have made to bridge the gap with communities they serve.
“We, as a union, in NO WAY support or condone the recent post made by an individual member,” PBA President Joseph Palermo said in a statement. “We will not allow an individual member’s lapse in judgment define us.”
Palermo said that the person who shared the image took full responsibility for the post and “has been dealt with accordingly.”
The PSOA was equally unequivocal in its condemnation.
“The actions put forth by one individual that posted to the PBA’s social media account is appalling and in no way reflects the views of the PSOA or its members,” part of the PSOA's statement read.
The Newburgh Police Department also released a statement distancing itself from the post. In the statement, Lt-in-Command Aaron Weaver said, "We sincerely regret any damage caused by one person's thoughtless and inflammatory posting."
“With all of the recent events that have arisen around the country regarding racism and the confederate flag, the City of Newburgh Police Department wishes to convey its deepest apologies to the community regarding the recent posting on Instagram by one of its members,” Weaver said.
There's been renewed focus on symbols of the Confederacy in recent weeks after one woman was killed and more than a dozen people were injured when a man who'd shown support for a Confederate statue allegedly plowed through a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12.