- A TikTok of a girl getting an abortion is going viral—and the internet is divided Friday 3:06 PM
- FCC proposes $200 million fine for T-Mobile, others over data sharing Friday 3:03 PM
- Which ‘Love is Blind’ couples are still together? Friday 2:01 PM
- Review: ‘The Invisible Man’ reboot is thrilling but basic Friday 1:25 PM
- Sex workers speak out after OnlyFans leak Friday 1:21 PM
- Normani addresses Camila Cabello’s racist social media posts Friday 1:07 PM
- Mike Huckabee’s defense of Trump’s coronavirus response will make you nauseous Friday 12:06 PM
- Gmail’s email filtering may affect what candidate emails you are seeing Friday 11:08 AM
- Woman shares aftermath of domestic abuse: ‘This is only to raise awareness’ Friday 10:40 AM
- Skai Jackson gets restraining order against Bhad Bhabie after death threat Friday 10:19 AM
- Taylor Swift shades Scooter Braun in ‘The Man’ video Friday 10:15 AM
- Porn stars are lining up behind Bernie Sanders Friday 10:10 AM
- YouTube mom says she ‘beat’ her 2-year-old daughter for ruining her makeup kit Friday 10:02 AM
- Ajit Pai’s net neutrality victory lap comes as his own repeal is under review Friday 9:20 AM
- Alissa Violet is in Italy—and fans are worried she’ll get coronavirus Friday 9:19 AM
Two Mobile, AL police officers, Preston McGraw and Alexandre Olivier, recently sparked massive online outrage after an image of them went viral. In the photo, the two officers were holding a makeshift “quilt” constructed from confiscated cardboard signs taken from panhandlers. The “homeless quilt” was apparently intended as a gag gift for their superior.
This sucks so goddamn much. pic.twitter.com/x8knEa0Q5D— Tom Joad’s Ghost 🛠 (@Toms_Spectre) December 30, 2019
The post was originally featured on one of the officers’ personal Facebook pages and has since been deleted. “Wanna wish everybody in the 4th precinct a Merry Christmas, especially our captain,” read the accompanying caption. “Hope you enjoy our homeless quilt! Sincerely Panhandler patrol.”
Reactions to the post criticized the officers’ apparent utter lack of empathy in trivializing the suffering of Mobile’s homeless citizens.
Here you have police in Mobile Alabama glorifying signs they seemingly took from homeless people who were asking for help during the holidays....with a Blue Lives Matter flag draped behind them. pic.twitter.com/a216IfyXFT— Jordan (@JordanChariton) December 30, 2019
Officers from @MobileALPolice made a "quilt" out of signs they apparently confiscated from homeless people as a gruesome gift for their precinct.— Gretchen Koch (@GretchenKoch) December 30, 2019
How you could even think of creating such a thing, let alone pose with it smiling like this, I have no idea. pic.twitter.com/0Rse8CzymT
“Why do you hate the police so much??” pic.twitter.com/v5QIS3cQ29— ok porg (@nerdybyptw) December 30, 2019
On Monday, the controversy resulting from the image caused Mobile Chief of Police Lawrence Battiste to issue a statement of apology.
“As a police department entrusted with serving and protecting our community, we offer our sincerest apology for the insensitive gesture of a Facebook post by two of our officers,” said Battiste in a statement via the Mobile Police Department’s official Facebook page. “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.”
Due to a controversial law passed in 2010, panhandling in restricted areas in Mobile can result in a fine of up to $500, community service and/or up to 6 months in jail.
According to BuzzFeed News, an administrative investigation regarding the officers’ actions is underway. Officers McGraw and Olivier reportedly will remain on duty and on active patrol during the investigation.
Ignacio Martinez is a reporter specializing in online gaming and political communities. His work has previously appeared in the Texas Observer and on the airwaves at KVRX 91.7 FM. He is based in Austin, Texas, and you can follow him on Twitter at @NacioMartinez.