Note: we are republishing this story amid a nationwide conversation about race and racial justice in America.
In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a woman was outraged after spotting a “racist” stuffed animal in the back of a police car.
She took a video of the dreadlocked monkey stuffed toy, and uploaded it on Facebook. She stated that the toy was “the most racist thing [she had] ever seen.”
“Okay, so ya’ll – this is the police. Do ya’ll see this? In the back of they car, yo?...They whole live got a monkey, right there ya’ll…that’s crazy,” she said in the video.
According to the Winston-Salem Journal, the woman also stated that the toy made her “question [the officer’s] intent toward the black men” in the community.
Winston-Salem Police Department Chief, Catrina Thompson, authorized an internal investigation into the matter after she received citizens’ complaints about the toy.
Chief Thompson issued a press release to explain why there was a stuffed monkey and bear in the patrol vehicle.
"The Winston-Salem Police Department has equipped all of our Patrol Cars with stuffed animals for over 20 years. The stuffed animals are regularly donated to the WSPD by various organizations and individuals for the primary purpose of calming children that have been traumatized by violent acts, vehicle crashes, fires, or any other type of trauma that may have occurred to a child," she said.
She then extended her apology to those who “found this circumstance to be offensive,” adding that the department will “confirm our stuffed animals are not offensive” in the future.
She revealed that the internal investigation concluded that there was “no ill intent” pertaining to the stuffed monkey inside the patrol car, and that it had been removed.
"I certainly understand why community members would be offended, and we work every day to continue building trust in the WSPD, as well as keeping you safe by attempting to reduce crime and the fear of crime,” she stated.
Sources: Defense Maven