Winston-Salem Police Chief Catrina Thompson apologized this week after a Facebook post showed officers driving with a stuffed dreadlocked monkey in the back of their patrol car.
According to the Winston-Salem Journal, the person who took the video and posted it to Facebook called it “the most racist thing I have ever seen.”
In the video that accompanied the post, it appears that the stuffed animal has dreadlocks and is wearing a Rastafarian hat.
“In the future, we will confirm our stuffed animals are not offensive,” Thompson said in a statement Tuesday. “I apologize to any community member that found this circumstance to be offensive.”
Thompson said it was common for officers to have stuffed animals in their police cruisers to comfort kids after trauma-related incidents.
“Stuffed animals have proven to be a successful initiative for the WSPD [Winston-Salem Police Department],” she added. “We have taken administrative actions to change the appearance of the display of the stuffed animal, specifically the monkey, to ensure no one else is offended. I assure you this will not reoccur.”
She said an internal investigation found that the officers did not intend to offend anyone with the stuffed animal in the patrol car.