Danielle Outlaw
Commissioner Danielle Outlaw called the image ‘insulting'
Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP

A broadcaster has apologised after “mistakenly” airing a graphic portraying the Philadelphia Police Department’s motto as “coffee, corruption, and donuts”.

The real maxim displayed on the force’s shield is “honour, integrity and service”.

NBC10 Philadelphia quickly apologised for the error, and updated its coverage from Friday evening to include the correct image.

While Commissioner Danielle Outlaw thanked NBC for their correction, she denounced the gaffe as “inappropriate and insulting”, stating that it was shown during a story relating to Covid-19 deaths of city employees, including five Philadelphia police officers.

“We certainly understand mistakes happen, as we are all human beings,” Commissioner Outlaw said.

“However, mistakes such as these can tear away at our legitimacy, and can also diminish the work of our employees who risk their safety every day to provide honour, integrity and service to our great city.”

In its statement on the broadcast – which appears to have been based on a report stating that, while five officers have been recorded as having fatally contracted Covid-19 at work, some families are missing out on line-of-duty death compensations – NBC 10 said it regretted the error.

“In a story on our 5pm newscast that was meant to help police officers and other frontline city workers, we made a mistake,” the statement said. “We intended to use a picture of the Philadelphia police shield that says ‘honour, integrity, and service’. Instead, we mistakenly inserted a parody version that was disrespectful to everyone on the force.

“We regret the error. And we apologise to every man and woman on the Philadelphia police force.”

Like many major city police forces, Philadelphia Police Department has faced a substantial number of allegations of corruption and police brutality in its long history.

However, several events in the past year have seen the force subjected to anger and protests from the community.

In June, Commissioner Outlaw was forced to place a moratorium on the use of tear gas after criticisms over its use against anti-racism protesters following the death of George Floyd. It came a week after 72 police officers were placed on desk duty following the discovery of thousands of racist and violent social media posts. Thirteen were later fired.

Most recently, the fatal shooting of 27-year-old African-American, Walter Wallace Jr, sparked protests across the city. A fortnight ago, legal observers filed a lawsuit alleging police brutality at these protests.

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