St. Paul officer apologizes for Muslim costume photo - KMSP-TV

St. Paul officer apologizes for Halloween photo of Muslim costume

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

The St. Paul police officer pictured in a photo mimicking a Muslim woman's Target employee has issued a public apology for the image and said he hopes to repair any damage it has caused.

One day after the St. Paul Police Department announced its investigation into the photograph, which was circulated widely on social media sites, the officer involved issued the following apology:

"I apologize to anyone who may have been offended by the recently publicized photo which showed me at a private Halloween party on my personal time," Officer Robert Buth said. "I sincerely regret that the image, which was never intended to become public, may have been viewed to be insensitive to the Muslim community. I am proud to be a Saint Paul police officer. I have enjoyed working with all of our diverse communities and look forward to working to repairing any damage which may have been caused."

It is not yet clear whether Buth will face discipline over the picture. He has been disciplined twice during his 13 years with the department, once for a traffic accident and again in 2003 after he punched a student while working as a school resource officer.

Saint Paul Police Chief Tom Smith did not comment on the department's investigation on Tuesday, but did release a statement saying he believes Buth's apology was genuine. That statement can be read in full below:

"I respect Officer Buth's efforts to apologize to those who may have been offended by the recently publicized photo of him. I believe his apology is sincere and that he will work to correct any negative perceptions brought about by the image.

In his 13-year career with the Saint Paul Police Department, Officer Buth has been recognized by our communities for his service. We expect that he will once again draw upon those experiences as he works to rebuild their trust.

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."

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations recommended the department order the officer to participate in diversity training.

After learning of the photo, Target announced it is also conducting a full investigation and will partner with the St. Paul Police Department while they continue to investigate on their own as well.

"As a company who stands firmly for inclusivity and diversity, we were appalled by this photo and do not tolerate or condone discrimination or harassment of any sort," a Target spokeswoman told FOX 9 by phone.

Target also released a statement confirming that the officer pictured had spent time at a local Target store in a security capacity. Their full statement regarding that relationship can be read below:

"Target is committed to ensuring a safe and secure shopping and working environment for our guests and team members. As part of this commitment, Target uses off-duty police officers as part of a multi-layered security focus. While Target does not directly hire those individuals who periodically provide support, we can confirm that the individual in this photo did occasionally provide off-duty support at a local Target store."

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