NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma police officer is under investigation after responding to a departmental email about coronavirus protective masks that were issued by sending images of people with white bags over their faces carrying torches, reminiscent of lynchings of blacks by the Ku Klux Klan, his police chief said Tuesday.
Norman police Officer Jacob McDonough remains on duty while the department’s internal affairs division investigates the May 5 email, Chief Kevin Foster said, adding that the images were of the movie “Django Unchained.”
The images, which The Associated Press obtained through a Freedom of Information request, include the captions, “I think we all think the bag was a nice idea,” followed by, “But not pointin’ any fingers, they coulda been done better.”
McDonough, who didn’t respond to phone calls from the AP, has apologized, Foster said.
“It was not his intent ... the racial part of it. He was talking in reference to masks and the fit. In that scene, I guess they are discussing how their masks did not fit properly,” according to Foster.
Within 15 minutes of McDonough’s post, police Lt. Lee McWhorter responded.
“McDonough, I really hope you didn’t mean that the way it looks because that’s MORE than inappropriate. I’d say this is a fantastic time to stop this email thread,” McWhorter wrote.
“Sir, I would like to apologize,” McDonough wrote in response, saying he was using satire from the movie.
“However, I understand and did not mean any disrespect toward anyone at all. Truly, my apologies Sir,” according to the email thread.