The police department in Lockport, N.Y., described a shooting suspect as a "Negro" in a police report.
The Lockport, New York police department is coming under fire after a mug shot was released detailing the suspect as a "dark negro." VPC
Next to the line labeled "complexion," 19-year-old Shamir Allen is listed as "Negro." It's followed by "DA", which according to Lockport police means dark.
"I think it's ignorant. I think it's a lack of education. I think it's a lack of sensitivity," said Eva Doyle, a columnist and author, who writes about African and African-American culture.
"That word was developed during slavery to subjugate, discriminate, to make people feel bad about themselves," said Erie County legislator Betty Jean Grant.
Lockport Police Chief Larry Eggert said he was not aware that "Negro" could be offensive until he spoke with a WGRZ-TV reporter.
He said some officers use the terms "light" and "dark Negro". He said it's not a policy to label blacks as Negroes in the police database.
According to Lockport police, officers use a specific type of computer software to list the complexion of suspects. The department says it's been using the system since 1994 and that it's rarely updated.
When officers go to the complexion tab, there are about 12 options to choose from, and among them descriptions such as light, medium and dark are listed, in addition to "light Negro" and "dark Negro."
Eggert said "Negro" will be removed from the department's database. Also, the Lockport Police Department will do diversity training in the next couple of weeks to explain to officers why the word "Negro" is not acceptable to use.