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Police Chief McLay Speaks Out After Controversy Over Sign

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – In his first television comments since the local Fraternal Order of Police criticized his holding a protester's sign, Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay took the blame for a misunderstanding.

"There was miscommunication for which I will take complete responsibility in how the message was interpreted and what that sign was all about," McLay said. "There was misunderstanding between myself and the FOP that resulted in a brouhaha that quite frankly didn't need to occur."

In a story, first reported by KDKA's Marty Griffin, the FOP said the sign held by McLay was, in effect, calling the police racist. They chief said he never meant to imply that at all.

"I support the men and women of the police bureau," he said. "We've got outstanding officers and they provide excellent service to all our communities, and I'm very proud of them."

And McLay said he's ironed out differences with the FOP.

"We've got together, we've talked, we're on the same page, we're going the same direction, and we're all committed to serving the diverse communities," he said.

Given the controversy, KDKA's Jon Delano asked the chief if he would hold the sign again.

"Would I hold the sign? Absolutely," said McLay. "I stand behind racial justice. I believe we all have a responsibility to speak out against injustice, but what I would do differently, as soon as I was done holding that sign, I would have gone to the nearest computer and put out an email to my officers to let them know the sign was about justice, speaking out against injustice, and these were not, in fact, police protesters."

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