An acting police commissioner was asked to resign after a 25-year-old photo emerged of her wearing a t-shirt with an apparent “joke” that was in bad taste. “It is clear that it was a bad decision on my part, and I would not wear that shirt today,” she admitted, but was that enough?
When Christine Coulter became Philadelphia’s acting Police Commissioner, she was lauded for being Philly’s first female to hold the top cop position and applauded for her distinguished career and disciplinary record. She’d find herself being asked to resign, however, over a t-shirt she wore 25 years ago that apparently joked about the Los Angeles police officers’ be@t…. of Rodney King.
The t-shirt in question read, “L.A.P.D. We Treat You Like a King.” And, it’s easy to see why some interpreted the t-shirt’s words as a reference to the infamous be@t…. of Rodney King at the hands of four Los Angeles police officers in 1991, which was videotaped by a citizen, WCAU reported.
After The Philadelphia Inquirer was first to report on the shirt, worn by Coulter as a young police officer, the acting commissioner decided to address the issue during a Philadelphia City Council hearing on social media posts by police officers. When the acting Police Commissioner apologized for the controversial t-shirt she wore in the 1990s, a councilwoman called for Coulter’s resignation.
Coulter said the photo was taken during a New Jersey beach gathering with fellow officers when she worked in the 25th District. She explained that she had “never even thought of it as anything other than an L.A.P.D. shirt,” and when she was photographed in it, she did not recognize the potential connection between the slogan and King’s b3@t…. Even though she didn’t realize how it could be perceived at the time, she was “profoundly sorry” for having worn it nonetheless.
Coulter, who believes the controversial photo was taken in 1994, called the decision to wear the shirt “careless” and said, “I should have known,” as she apologized for it. “It is clear that it was a bad decision on my part, and I would not wear that shirt today,” she said. “Certainly, as I look at the past week and the h5rt and d@m@ge it has caused people who I care about to communities that I always care about, I should have known,” she added.
“My heart has been broken over this,” Coulter continued. “There’s folks in this room who I have served in their communities who know my heart and know that for 30 years I have served in black and brown communities with all that I ever have to give, never treating people unfairly or unjustly because of their race. Even people I’ve had to arrest, I treated like gentlemen or gentle ladies going through the process.”
Bass drew cheers from the crowd attending the hearing, which addressed a report released by the Plain View Project. The report showed the findings of a two-year review of more than 3,000 . Facebook posts and comments from current and former Philly officers as well as those from seven other U.S. police departments. It resulted in 72 Philadelphia police officers being placed on administrative leave, including the suspension of 13 officers with the intent of being fired, and at least seven officers resigning shortly after the findings were announced.