Just days after St. Paul Police Officer Rob Buth apologized for a photo of him dressed as a female Muslim Target employee, the department confirmed it is looking into a second photograph from 2010.
So far, there is no connection between the two photographs other than that they both were taken on Halloween, but news of a second internal investigation is making waves in the city's Muslim community and could lead to big changes in the department.
"It's disgusting," said Somali community activist Abdi Bihi. "To have a representative for law enforcement mimicking Somali, Muslim-American women is not funny."
Police Chief Tom Smith launched the first investigation after a photograph of a man wearing a hijab, a Target employee name tag and cell phone began circulating online. Shortly thereafter, Buth issued an apology saying the Halloween costume was worn to a private party and was not intended for public viewing.
Now, the department is looking into another embarrassing photo to see if another St. Paul police officer donned a similar costume in 2010.
Bihi told FOX 9 News the picture, which shows a man in blackface and a long covering often worn by Somali women at what appears to be a Halloween party is no joke.
"It's not a costume. It's a culture," he explained. "To taunt a culture -- especially by law enforcement -- is not a healthy issue."
The St. Paul Police Department has not officially identified the man in the picture as one of their officers, but a spokesperson did say they have a patrol officer with the same name who has been on the force since January 2010 and no disciplinary actions on file.
Ironically, the new photograph surfaced on the same day that the assistant police chief reached out to members of the Muslim community at a mosque in St. Paul to discuss the first photo.
A department spokesperson told FOX 9 News that cultural diversity training is part of the curriculum at the academy, but the department plans to retrain all officers on cultural issues soon -- possibly as early as next month.
WJBK-TV | Fox 2
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