Alabama Officers Under Investigation For Viral Photo

Holly Matkin

Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste issued an apology for the "insensitive" post on Monday.

Mobile, AL – An Alabama police chief has issued a public apology for the “insensitive” social media post officers from his department made showing them posing with a “homeless quilt” composed of signs confiscated from panhandlers.

The photo showed two smiling, uniformed Mobile Police Department (MPD) officers as they held up approximately two dozen taped-together cardboard signs emblazoned with messages about being homeless and needing help.

“Wanna wish everybody in 4th precinct a Merry Christmas, especially our captain,” the now-deleted post read. “Hope you enjoy our homeless quilt! Sincerely, Panhandler patrol.”

A screenshot of the post, which has been shared on Facebook over 16,000 times so far, has racked up over 2,000 comments, nearly all of which criticized police.

Many demanded that all of the involved officers be fired.

The Birmingham News identified the officers in the photo as Officer Alexandre Olivier and Officer Preston McGraw.

Officer Olivier has been with MPD for nearly two years. Officer McGraw joined the department one year ago.

Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste issued a “sincerest apology” for the post on Monday.

“As a police department entrusted with serving and protecting our community, we offer our sincerest apology for the insensitive gesture of a Facebook post by two of our officers where they are holding up a homeless ‘quilt’ made of panhandling signs,” Chief Battiste wrote.

“Although we do not condone panhandling and must enforce the city ordinances that limit panhandling, it is never our intent or desire as a police department to make light of those who find themselves in a homeless state,” he continued. “Rather, our position has always been to partner with community service providers to help us help those faced with homelessness with hope to improve their quality of life.”

The MPD has launched an internal investigation into the incident, according to FOX News.

“We have to take responsibility for it – we did it,” Chief Battiste told WALA. “We have to own it at this point.”

“Those officers were given a mandate of addressing those concerns of panhandling,” he noted. “Unfortunately, they took it to a level that they should not have taken it too and for that, as the chief of police, I apologize.”

According to the department, one of the officers who posed for the now-viral photo was also praised for buying a homeless citizen something to drink on a hot day this past summer, WALA reported.

“The officers had a lapse in judgement we'll address that through the investigation, and we'll make a determination did we do it out of malice or did we do it because we made a mistake,” Chief Battiste told the news outlet.

Comments (89)
Ferret guy
Ferret guy

Oops lol

No. 1-35
RQueen13
RQueen13

From what I've seen over my years. I figure they were just having a little fun in the way people who work in very stressful and dangerous jobs do. They can do very crazy things and do very (what people call) 'insensitive' joking. While it was not in "good taste", people needs to quit being so sensitive. If someone gets offended at just about everything, then they need to realize that the only way stop being offended is to stop being yourself. Because the problem is not who offends you but you being offended at everyone and everything.

DNW
DNW

Many of those signs look similar, like they were written by the same person... probably more background to the story than we know. Anyway, yet another example of why LEO should jettison their social media accounts - for their own protection. As ridiculous as it is, they could lose their jobs over this.

tfort
tfort

Idiots

NTPD935Ret
NTPD935Ret

The chief needs to be Disciplined for his poor choice of words and his insensitivity. They are not homeless people they are unsheltered people. Lmao!!

rusty5309
rusty5309

I think firing them is too easy. Put them on third shift and leave them there for a year or so...make them take classes on how to be a decent human being.

Memere
Memere

I believe they were mocking the Captain. Sounds like they are not happy having to take the signs. Wish we could know their side of the story!

oldbat
oldbat

in this day and age everyone is offended by everything. we are going to hell in a hand basket

fuzzy-ma
fuzzy-ma

“Wanna wish everybody in 4th precinct a Merry Christmas, especially our captain,” the now-deleted post read. “Hope you enjoy our homeless quilt! Sincerely, Panhandler patrol.” Sounds like and issue with their Captain. What kind of leader is he? All I can say is get over it. Guys being guys.

Jones24
Jones24

Everyone is so sensitive. Geez!!!

bryantrent
bryantrent

I don't know

LostAllSanity
LostAllSanity

Mobile PD...Is this the only problem you have to worry about? Grab your cajones and tell the over-sensitive cupcakes to FO.

EGDG1930
EGDG1930

Police officer here 30 years. That's disgusting!

DR226
DR226

Well I've seen instances where the panhandlers made more money than the people donating to them, Scammers.

Gap Filler
Gap Filler

Police need their own unique outlet for this sort of thing. While what they did lacked good judgment in posting it to social media, I can understand why they did what they did. A good number of the people they deal with are just cons and not homeless at all and that hurts those that are.

Sargejh
Sargejh

The majority of sign holding “homeless” folks I dealt with were professionals! They do this for a living. We have watched them leave their location with their signs, walk to their car parked near by and drive home. With tax free money. This is a non story. Move on. Nothing to see here.

Got A Warrant
Got A Warrant

Gallows humor will always be around PD, FD & EMS. That is another discussion for another time. The issue here is how do these two lack the judgement to appear in uniform on a social media platform with that 'quilt'? At some point did either of those two, or who ever took the picture say, "hey guys, this might be not be a good idea"?

I think a follow up question that will be asked is what type of squad is the Cap't running that these two officers figure this is a good idea? I suspect that these two will be working graveyard at the impound lot for a while.

KMdale
KMdale

This is a ridiculous issue to be offended over. It is a STUPID reason to terminate a LEO for.

ElleD
ElleD

I hope all the negative comment posters that call for them to be fired meets the same fate they ask for.

Wish505
Wish505

Most of those panhandlers will walk a block to there newer model car and drive home. Have seen it happen to many times over the years. Maybe 10% of the PH are legit.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

#jerks

RighteousUse
RighteousUse

Is it much different to pose with 5000lbs of weed or 10lbs of heroin? Some of those violators are not happy with themselves either. Tasteless:yes, criminal:no. Reprimand and return to work.

Unpoliticallycorrect
Unpoliticallycorrect

Bad judgment BUT I've seen "panhandlers" get into fancy cars when their shift was done. Not caring to much.

investigator
investigator

Knew of a panhandler in New Mexico near 12th St., whose wife dropped him off in the morning...in a very nice car....then picked him up every afternoon.....guy was averaging $350 a week. And that was 20 years ago!!

Domestic goddess
Domestic goddess

I don't have sympathy for the panhandlers in my community. Most have jobs, yet think begging and/or injuring citizens is a good thing

Two panhandlers near my hometown accosted a woman in a shopping center parking lot after she parked. They tased her, then robbed her of her purse and jewelry.

I hope the officers arrest those breaking the law, as it's criminal behavior, and some are becoming violent.

They can get a job, but prefer to nag those just trying to shop.

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

Most panhandlers are scammers. Many homeless have mental issues. Most LEOs have outstanding character...

[video link in above line not currently posting, so, including this below...]

www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2Ma1vg6NR4

Raymelson
Raymelson

I really don't see anything derogatory an I don't think officers ment anything bad I think they just were just having some fun after a hard shift

Artsynonva
Artsynonva

@tfort - I don't believe anyone got offended, and the homeless will not read this article, instead, I believe this is another opportunity to put blame and attack cops. Watch out guys!!!

Bobbiy
Bobbiy

All of you triggered snowflakes need to get a life and the only one who needs firing is the worthless Chief

RampageFinal6
RampageFinal6

The Sensitivity patrol, are the first ones to Bitch, but would be the last to put the uniform on, and get out there and work the streets. A large percentage of the Panhandlers are scammers, and sometimes even have a child with them. They fold their sign, and scurry off, when they realize I'm in an unmarked. Same people almost every day for over a year. It's like shift work at different intersections, on different days. Hell, they probably make more than I do! You can usually tell the real people in need, and I will always try to help, because you never know......

DarrellWhitledge
DarrellWhitledge

I see nothing at all wrong with that post 99% of the panhandlers are scammers and should be treated as such

rvigneault
rvigneault

they need to get off the roids

Oldblue2
Oldblue2

That’s funny!

beyondpissedoff
beyondpissedoff

Now THAT'S funny!

ACSO-Charles-One
ACSO-Charles-One

More P. C. Bullshit. Cops will be cops and these two officers just like 99% of the real cops on the street would give their life to protect any homeless citizen they encountered. I'm not surprised that the average citizen would find cop humor insensitive. The average citizen wouldn't and couldn't be a cop because they lack a necessary requirement a set of balls.


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