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Racist Christmas Tree 'Ornaments' Get Cops Put on Leave

Tree 'ornaments' called 'modern-day version of a dog whistle'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2018 2:03 PM CST
   (Getty Images / ehrlif)

(Newser) – Two Minneapolis police officers are on leave due to their ill-advised Christmas ornament choices. A photo of the Fourth Precinct's Christmas tree made headlines after being shared on social media last week; the tree was decorated with items including a Newport cigarette pack, a can of Steel Reserve malt liquor, police tape, bags of Takis and Flamin' Hot Funyuns, and a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen soda cup in what longtime civil rights activist Ron Edwards called a "wink wink" to racist tropes. "It’s a modern-day version of a dog whistle," he says, per the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The items were placed on the tree as a prank after it was decorated, CBS Minnesota reports.

The Star Tribune notes that the North Side precinct has "struggled to rebuild community trust" since the fatal 2015 shooting of Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man, which sparked major protests. More protests have been launched since the Christmas tree, which has since been taken down entirely, came to light. Mayor Jacob Frey said an internal investigation has been opened into the "racist display," and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said he was "ashamed and appalled." A police rep says the officers involved have been "relieved of duty" but are still being paid pending the results of the investigation, KARE reports. (A hospital worker lost her job over a racist Election Day outfit.)

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