The police have been facing backlash after sharing a photo of their Christmas tree decorated with ‘thugshots’ of captured and wanted suspects.
The controversy started in Alabama when the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office released a picture of their Christmas tree decorated with photos of criminals rather than baubles.
In the digitally-altered photo, the police also placed a pair of jail sandals on top of the tree instead of a star.
“We have decorated our Tree with THUGSHOTS to show how many Thugs we have taken off the streets of Mobile this year!” the police proudly wrote as they shared a photo of their masterpiece.
The post also went on to encourage criminals to choose from their offer of seized stolen properties in exchange for having a “personal concierge #correctionsofficer” escort them to “METRO DELUXE” and take them for a “custom fitting” of their “holiday jumpsuit” – a reference to the prison uniform.
“Many people ask after receiving their custom fit jumpsuit, What are the different ways to wear a jumpsuit during the holiday season? Our experts, #repeatoffenders, say dress it up with a jacket on top, blazer for formal events or a leather jacket for those casual outings … You can even tie a jacket around your waist during the day in place of a belt,” the authorities suggested.
After the post went viral, some people appeared to defend the police whereas others slammed them as “cruel” and “divisive” as they suggested criminals should receive assistance and rehabilitation instead of mockery.
As AL.com reported, Alabama president for the NAACP, Bernard Simelton, called the Sheriff’s Office’s post “despicable.”
Meanwhile, JaTune Bosby of the ACLU Alabama suggested that criminals, of whom many are allegedly struggling with substance abuse and mental illnesses, require “the community’s assistance and care, not open scorn from leaders.”
“We hope the [Mobile] Sheriff and his employees hear the resounding disdain their actions have brought and realize this type of divisive and cruel messaging does not serve the community,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama added in a statement.
Following the backlash, the post has been removed by Mobile County Sheriff’s Office.