Metro Police Chief Apologizes for "Large Lips" Remark

Training memo causes controversy

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2010  |  Updated 5:30 PM EDT
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Metro Police Chief Apologizes for "Large Lips" Remark

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Metro's acting chief of police issued an apology for a training memo some said encouraged racial profiling.

Chief Jeri Lee said in a letter to staff that officials would do their best "to ensure publications are free from insensitive and/or offensive information in the future."

The training memo, first reported by the Washington Examiner, listed several sets of questions for officers to ask crime victims, including: "Did you notice anything unusual about the suspect? (i.e. large lips)."

Some officers objected, saying the description was a stereotype of black people and that it was offensive to use as the sole description used to identify criminals.

"One has to wonder how the insensitive language found safe harbor in Metro's training guidelines," said Jackie Jeter, the president of the local transit union.

After the complaints the memo was amended to replace the descriptor with "facial scar or tattoo."

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