Halloween can bring out the most creative in people, but more often than not, it draws out the worst. Case in point: A light-skinned University of Nevada, Reno police officer wore a costume mocking Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL player who led a national protest against racism.
A photo surfaced on Twitter over the weekend showing the officer with a curly Afro wig, a drawn-on black beard, and a fake nose in a handmade 49ers jersey. Wrapped around his front, the officer had a sign that says “Will stand for food,” poking fun at Kaepernick’s free agent status after being let go by the 49ers. Twitter users quickly condemned the costume, calling it racist.
Let’s see how this goes over. Nevada police officer mocks Colin Kaepernick, dressing as him for Halloween. pic.twitter.com/tb1TwXpbKQ— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) October 31, 2017
But the public is supposed to believe that police officers that do things like this are able to treat POC fairly?— StephE (@Stephb_c) October 31, 2017
He's gonna need that sign when he gets fired.— Andrew Ellison (@drewski_9119) October 31, 2017
This officer should be FIRED!— Crown On Heels High (@TraciesCrownOn) October 31, 2017
While one Twitter user seemed to have identified the officer (they have since locked their account), University Police Chief Adam Garcia refused to name names. He did, however, call the costume “insensitive.”
“For those who have seen the Halloween costume of one of our officers apparently mocking a citizen who has chosen to take advantage of his constitutional right to protest, I offer my sincere apologies,” Garcia said in an official statement. “Members of our profession are held to a higher standard, and denigrating another—on or off duty—is insensitive for its lack of respect and lack of understanding on how others may negatively view their actions and may be impacted.”
Kaepernick, who is now best known for protesting racism and police brutality by kneeling for the national anthem last season, isn’t the first (nor last) Black American to be targeted by a racist costume. Blackface remains prominent on Halloween, as do costumes stereotyping people of color. An Afro, a fake nose, and making a mockery of the fight for racial justice is no different.