PITTSBURGH (AP) – Mayor Bill Peduto has made an appearance on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” defending the Pittsburgh police chief’s posing for a photograph with an anti-racism sign.
Host Bill O’Reilly asked Peduto on Wednesday night whether Chief Cameron McLay was “really wise” to pose with a sign on New Year’s Eve that read “I resolve to challenge racism @ work” and bore a Twitter hashtag saying “end white silence.”
McLay didn’t create the sign, but posed with it at a city celebration.
Some people have supported the chief for having his photo posted on social media with the sign, but the city’s police union president has said it suggests police, especially White officers, are racist.
McLay has apologized to his officers if they were offended by the gesture, and Peduto echoed the chief’s explanation that he is just trying to start a dialogue about relations between the police and the city’s black community and about race relations in general.
“I don’t know of any one problem that any one of us face – either personally or systematic problems – that isn’t addressed by first having an open and honest dialogue,” Peduto said during his national TV appearance of about 5 minutes.
When O’Reilly asked if it was wise for McLay to pose for the photo in light of nationwide protests over the deaths of unarmed Black men by White police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City, Peduto said: “I would argue the other way.”
“There is a danger, almost any action you take, especially on controversial issues, but there is also an opportunity,” the mayor said. “I do believe that there is a power that I have, power that the police chief has, to up the dialogue.”