The New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police on Monday accused the Asbury Park Press of publishing an "incendiary" cartoon of a boy in a Ku Klux Klan robe -- and demanded the newspaper remove the drawing and apologize to people of color, as well as to members of law enforcement.
NJSACOP issued a statement:
"On June 28, 2018, the Asbury Park Press published a cartoon in its editorial section that was clearly a poor attempt at political satire. Rather than encourage thoughtful discussion, the cartoon was offensive to its directed audience: law enforcement and communities of color.
"Publishing a cartoon such as this was intended to be no more than incendiary in nature, and simply for the purposes of selling more newspapers.
"The cartoon...depicts a young person of color speaking, presumably to his mother, in what appears to be their home. He is wearing a costume, complete with white hood, that is commonly associated with the Ku Klux Klan.
"This young man tells his mother that he is wearing these clothes so that he is not 'hassled' by the police. The next scene of the cartoon has the young man passing by what looks like a headline related to a police shooting involving 'another unarmed black man.'
"A reference of any kind to the Ku Klux Klan is insulting and reprehensible and relating it to current police/community relations is appallingly insensitive.
"We in New Jersey law enforcement are outraged by this unjustified attack on our profession and strongly feel that this, in no way, is an accurate reflection of the ongoing collaborative efforts undertaken with the communities we serve.
"We have, for example, collectively engaged in substantial and meaningful interaction and communication with communities of color to increase diversity within our ranks. In short, we are very much engaged in processes seeking solutions, increasing trust and reducing tensions.
"The Asbury Park Press should be entrusted to publish newsworthy articles that accurately depict what takes place around our State and inform our citizens. With this extreme example of a biased invective it is now beyond our comprehension how it can be relied upon as an objective source for information.
"In short, we feel that this cartoon is nothing short of yellow journalism and it should be removed from their website immediately and an apology issued to both law enforcement and our communities of color."
The statement is authored by Chiefs Association President Richard Buzby and co-signed by Richard Smith, president of the NAACP NJ State Conference; Jiles H. Ship, president of the Northern N.J. Chapter National Organization of Black L.E. Executives; County Chiefs of Detectives Association President Gerry McAleer; and Bishop Jethro James Jr. of Paradise Baptist Church in Newark.
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