A police report in an upstate New York town that listed a suspect as a “dark Negro” is being condemned as “disgusting” and “insensitive.”
A mugshot provided by the Lockport Police Department said the suspect in a string of shootings is “Negro DA.” Lockport police said DA means dark. The image is of Shamir Allen, 19.
Lockport Police Chief Larry Eggert said he was unaware that the terminology could be seen as offensive until a WGRZ-TV pointed it out to him.
“I didn't know it until I talked to you just now, I don't ever use that term but I didn't think it was an offensive term regardless,” Eggert told WGRZ-TV.
"That word was developed during slavery to subjugate, discriminate, to make people feel bad about themselves," Erie County legislator Betty Jean Grant said.
"This right here is insulting, it is disrespecting, it is inaccurate and it's a word that should have gone away at least since the 1960s," she added.
Eggert said the department has been using a computer software since 1994 that lists the complexion of suspects. Police admit the software is rarely updated. Under the complexion tab there are 12 options to chose from.
"If it bothers people that much we're going to take it out,” said Eggert. “It's not used as an inflammatory word, as a racially divisive term, it isn't any of that, it was in the drop down menu that a well-meaning officer picked because he thought that's what the person looked like.”
He says it will be removed from the database Wednesday, if not later this week.
Image screenshot: WGRZ-TV