Baton Rouge Police Face Backlash After Old Photo of Cops in Blackface Resurfaces

Baton Rouge police officials have issued an apology after a photo surfaced of two officers wearing blackface in 1993. The department said the two officers, Crimestoppers coordinator Lt. Don Stone and now-retired police Capt. Frankie Caruso, donned the dark makeup as a disguise for a narcotics operation in 1993, though Police Chief Murphy Paul acknowledged in a statement that the move was “inappropriate.” The photo was reportedly featured in the police department's 1993 yearbook above the caption “Soul Brothers.” “Blackface photographs are inappropriate and offensive,” Paul said on Monday. “They were inappropriate then and are inappropriate today. The Baton Rouge Police Department would like to apologize to our citizens and to anyone who may have been offended by the photographs.” Paul also said that current department policy bans the use of blackface “under any circumstances.." Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, a black woman and the first woman elected to lead Baton Rouge, also spoke out against the photos. “While this may have been department-approved 25 years ago, that does not make it right,” she said in a statement.