Black History Month police cruisers spark backlash online


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By Claretta Bellamy, NBC News

Miami's Black History Month police car
Miami Police Department unveiled their new Black History vehicle on Thursday. (Miami Police Department)

At least two police departments — one in Columbus, Ohio, the other in Miami — are celebrating Black History Month in a way some observers are not happy with.

The Columbus Division of Police unveiled its “History 1” cruiser this month designed in colors and symbols reflecting Black pride and culture. A short video shared by the department on Twitter shows the cruiser with red, black, yellow and green stripes behind the words “Black History Month” on the front and side and the Martin Luther King quote, “Be the peace you wish to see in the world,” on the rear window. The video includes audio of King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. 

The cruiser is aimed to “celebrate the achievements of African Americans & recognize their roles in our history,” a tweet by the police department read. It also said that citizens should stay on the lookout for the cruiser as it patrols through their community and neighborhoods this month.

More than a thousand miles south, in Miami, the city’s police department introduced its own Black History Month-themed car on Thursday, according to the Miami Herald. The vehicle is decorated in red, yellow and green with symbols of Black fists and an outline of Africa. A ceremony took place in Overtown, a historically Black neighborhood in Miami, while police honored the first Black men to join the force in 1944.

Bellamy discusses the response to these actions.

The number of recent stories about police violence against Black citizens is one reason why this is seen as offensive.

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