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2 police departments face online criticism after unveiling 'Black History Month' vehicles

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Posted at 2:44 PM, Feb 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-03 14:44:28-05

Attempts by two police departments to celebrate Black History Month are generating criticism online.

The Columbus Division of Police unveiled "History 1" this month. The police cruiser features red, black, green and yellow striping. It says "Black History Month" on the hood and there is a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the back windshield.

"Be the peace you wish to see in the world," the quote says.

People online were quick to criticize the vehicle considering the current climate surrounding policing and communities of color. One user pointed to statistics from policescorecard.org, which show the Columbus Police has been involved in 48 police killings between 2013 and 2021.

Another user pointed to a study that shows Columbus Police disproportionally used force on Black residents between 2017 and 2019.

Despite the criticism, Columbus Police said the cruiser will be in neighborhoods and at community events throughout the month.

The Miami Police Department also faced criticism after unveiling its Black History Month vehicle.

Many people responded to pictures the department posted on Twitter, claiming the vehicle was in poor taste.

"This is such a horrible look. I can't even imagine how this got approved," a user wrote.

The police department said some of the force's first Black police officers were at the unveiling. Additionally, the Miami Community Police Benevolent Association, a predominantly Black police union, was part of the event, which it called a "celebration."