UNR Police Chief Apologizes for Officer’s Halloween Costume Depicting Colin Kaepernick

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Wearing a wig to resemble Colin Kaepernick’s hairstyle, along with a pointed nose and a “Will Stand for Food” sign, a University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) police officer’s Halloween costume went too far, its police chief said Sunday.

The off-duty officer was mocking Kaepernick, a UNR graduate and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who is currently a free agent.

Kaepernick garnered attention last season for kneeling instead of standing during the Star Spangled Banner prior to games, citing the oppression of minorities.

Some have speculated Kaepernick has been unsigned due to declining performance, while others say he could’ve been blackballed due to his on-field political actions. He announced earlier this month he was filing a collusion grievance against the NFL.

UNR police chief Adam Garcia released a statement, although he didn’t identify the officer by name.


“For those who have seen the Halloween costume of one of our officers apparently mocking a citizen who has chosen to take advantage of his constitutional right to protest, I offer my sincere apologies. Members of our profession are held to a higher standard and denigrating another—on or off duty—is insensitive for its lack of respect and lack of understanding on how others may negatively view their actions and may be impacted.”


Chief Garcia at ManzanitaGarcia said he’s heard from many people the past few weeks about how they feel unsafe on campus because of the current social and political climate. UNR has said the officer’s actions were in poor taste but indicated he wouldn’t be disciplined.

“Behavior such as this magnifies unsafe feelings and lack of trust in police, especially when that individual is responsible for the safety of all members of the university, regardless of color, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion,” Garcia said. “At a time when officers should be heightened in their attentiveness to perception by our community, this act seems extremely out of touch with those sentiments and reflects poorly on all of us.
To regain the trust of our students, and in particular those of color, will be a challenge and will be a priority through continued education, training and conversation.”

In September, a UNR police officer cursed at graduate student Kevin McReynolds during a traffic stop and joked he’d rather shoot him than fight him.

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Carla O'Day
About Carla O'Day 271 Articles

Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.

1 Comment

  1. I saw a picture of the costume and it was really funny and in good taste. What? Are we supposed to have police who cannot even express their sense of humor even on their time off from work? Nonsense!

    No more apologies, please! Our police are human beings and they generally do an otherwise thankless job, very well. Instead of apologizing to the one or two snowflakes who are perpetually offended, let’s have a stop to all forms of PC nonsense. I think that most of our citizens are sick of this apology stuff designed to appease the perpetually offended.

    I think the underlying purpose of all of this PC garbage is to weaken our society to the point that just about any sort of despot can take control of our governmental powers. Let’s resolve to stop the political correctness worship and instead say to the perpetually offended snowflakes and their like, to just grow up.

    One point that should be examined is the underlying concern that people have about abuse by police. If we re-shaped police training so as to stop emphasizing the “Who gets to go home tonight?” premise, that pits the officers in an imagined life or death struggle during every encounter with citizens and instead focused on always protecting everyone’s civil rights, while exercising prudent self protection measures, I think that a lot of the supposed abuse would be unlikely to happen in the future. Couple this new approach with a citizen education program that emphasizes that the place to settle a disagreement with a police officer is not on the street, but when you have your day in court, and we should see a return to much better relations between citizens and police.

    Here’s a hint: If the cop tells you to put your hands on the hood of your car, just do it. Few people are abused or otherwise harmed while being compliant during the arrest. If you are wrongly arrested (and this has happened to me) deal with it in court. Fighting with the ref in football gets you tossed out of the league. Fighting with a cop on the street can lead to you getting killed. So, have your day in court. Realize that the cop, however wrong he may be, is just performing a function and the place to right any wrong is the courtroom and not the street.

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