A police chief in Mobile's southern Alabama city apologizes for the social media post of an officer that seems to mock homeless people. The post has gone viral and has been widely shared over the holidays.
According to media outlet al.com, the Facebook post shows two Mobile police officers carrying what the post called a "homeless quilt." It was made up of cardboard signs that were allegedly seized from panhandlers around the area.
The post further read, "Wanna wish everybody in the 4th precinct a Merry Christmas, especially our captain. Hope you enjoy our homeless quilt. Sincerely Panhandler patrol."
Chief Lawrence Battiste, the police chief, didn't condone their actions and called the post an "insensitive gesture" and apologized for it.
Battiste also stated, "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."
Furthermore, the officers in the controversy are Mobile Police Academy's recent graduates. The photo also looks like it was taken inside a police department building, said al.com.
Reports also say that it is not clear whether an investigation is going to take place or whether the officers may face reprimand due to the post.
Within 2010, Mobile passed a law on panhandling. This stipulates that those who beg for money or panhandlers are only allowed to ask for money outside common downtown areas that are famous for tourists. If panhandlers violate this law and ask or beg for money in the restricted zone, their panhandling will result in a fine of up to $500. It will also include community service and up to six months in prison.