From The Pittsburgh Tribune Review by Michael Hasch, January 3, 2015
Pittsburgh police Chief Cameron McLay was simply doing his job, the mayor’s chief of staff said Friday, when he was photographed at Wednesday’s First Night celebration Downtown holding a protest group’s sign saying he supports challenging racism in the workplace.
“The mayor unequivocally supports Chief McLay’s efforts to be out there in the community and discuss very difficult subjects and bulk up morale in the police department,” Kevin Acklin said.
The photo, which was posted on the Facebook page of the Fight Back Pittsburgh protest group, shows McLay holding the sign, which reads: “I resolve to challenge racism@work #end white silence.”
The chief was not making a “statement about any individual in the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police,” Acklin said.
Acklin said the photo, which has upset some city police officers, was taken while McLay was on duty and in uniform monitoring the First Night protest.
“I did not seek out these young activists,” McLay wrote in an email released by Public Safety Department spokeswoman Sonya Toler.
“I was stopping for coffee at First Night. I was, however, very happy to visit with them to talk about … how we all perceive one another. Their message is not ‘anti-‘ anybody. It is simply a call for awareness. I hear from my own officers concerns about race problems, so (I) know there is work yet to be done. … The photo was a great, spontaneous moment in time. Please join the dialogue for community healing,” the chief said.