St. Paul officer apologizes over costumeby Curtis Gilbert, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The St. Paul police officer photographed last year in a culturally insensitive costume has issued an apology.
In a police department press release, Officer Robert Buth said the photo was taken at "a private Halloween party" on his "personal time." The statement said he looked forward to "repairing any damage which may have been caused."
The image shows Buth dressed as a Muslim woman, wearing makeup, a red headscarf and a name tag bearing the Target logo. Buth occasionally worked off-duty providing security at a Twin Cities Target store.
Buth's apology statement, released Tuesday, read in part, "I sincerely regret that the image, which was never intended to become public, may have been viewed to be insensitive to the Muslim community."
The photo was first posted online in November, and came to the police department's attention after Somali-American activists discovered it on Twitter over the weekend.
The tweet is provided by Mukhtar Ibrahim, a former intern with MPR News' All Things Considered.
Police Chief Tom Smith said in a separate statement Tuesday he considered Buth's apology sincere. But the Police Department is still conducting an internal investigation into the matter, which could include disciplinary action. Buth has been with the department almost 13 years.
Smith's statement read, in part, "Officer Buth's apology also signifies an understanding that as a Saint Paul police officer, we are responsible for our actions both while on-duty and off-duty."
In his career at the St. Paul Police department, Buth received a one day suspension in 2003 for using excessive force and improper conduct.