Anchorage police to conduct internal investigation following social media post

A spokesperson for Anchorage police wrote that they were unable to discuss the post.
Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 6:29 PM AKDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2022 at 6:41 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A post on social media has sparked an internal investigation within the Anchorage Police Department after a woman posed with an officer with what she called a white privilege card, instead of an ID.

The post came from Mimi Israelah’s profile, who wrote that she was visiting Anchorage from California for the Save America Rally with former President Donald Trump at the Alaska Airlines Center.

“White Privilege Card works as a Driver’s license! Always keep one in your wallet,” the post said.

It went on to recount what happened and said she was driving at 3:43 am when she was pulled over driving towards Sicily’s Pizza. The post said Israelah was told by an officer it was because she was weaving on the road.

“As an SOP, he asked for my driver’s license. I looked in the wallet but couldn’t find it. When I saw my White Privilege card, I gave to him if it’s ok,” the post said. “He laughed and called his partner. It’s their first time to see a white privilege card.”

She wrapped up the post acknowledging she bought the card from the Hodgetwins, a conservative comedian duo.

A spokesperson for Anchorage police wrote that they were unable to discuss the post.

“Per the municipal attorney’s office we are unable to answer questions in relation to the photo attached as the incident is under internal investigation and relates to personnel matters,” Community Relations Director Sunny Guerin wrote in an email.

Anchorage Police Chief Michael Kerle released a message on Tuesday night regarding the standards of conduct for the department’s officers.

Kerle wasn’t clear about what warranted the message, but emphasized the role of APD officers in the community and how important trust is to their relationship with the community.

“As law enforcement professionals, we are held accountable for our actions, and I am aware that the action of one officer can impact the trust between the police force and our community. I know we are all human,” Kerle wrote in the message on Monday. “But we belong to a profession that does not tolerate, practice, condone, facilitate, or collaborate with any form of discrimination. This profession requires our employees to treat everyone with respect and be culturally aware and competent.”

Alaska Black Caucus President Celeste Hodge Growden felt the photo on the post wasn’t culturally sensitive, and she hopes the department uses it as a teachable moment so it doesn’t happen again.

“We want to move the relationship forward in a positive direction with APD when it comes to people of color and this does not help,” Hodge Growden said. “What can we do to not only address this situation but to move our relationship forward in a positive way.”

The Anchorage Police Department Employees Association president Jeremy Conkling noted APD’s internal investigation and stressed the importance of due process for the officer.

“Based on what I see in that post, is there the possibility of, you know, some sort of inappropriate conduct? Sure, certainly,” Conkling said. ”I think that that’s exactly why the department opted to — upon seeing that — initiate an internal investigation but, I also think that we’re a long ways away from saying unequivocally that there was any sort of inappropriate conduct there, either, because it’s why we do investigations.”

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