Police chief gives tearful apology for Internet photo - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Police chief gives tearful apology for Internet photo

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Brownsville Police Chief Chris Lea gave a tearful apology for the photo of him that surfaced on the Internet. Brownsville Police Chief Chris Lea gave a tearful apology for the photo of him that surfaced on the Internet.
BROWNSVILLE, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Things got emotional during a Citizens Review Board meeting in Brownsville Friday when the police chief apologized for holding up a controversial sign.

A tearful apology was given by Brownsville Police Chief Chris Lea as the review board prepared to make disciplinary recommendations after a racially divisive picture popped up on the Internet.

"Anybody that knows me, my character, knows there's not a racial bone in my body," said Chief Lea.

The image that showed up online shows the police chief holding a sign that said, "Whites only".

Lea says he found the piece of paper folded up at his side business, a funeral home, shortly after it opened back in 2009.

He says he thought the words written on it were utterly ridiculous.

"If he saw it in the waste basket it just should've stayed in the waste basket," said Joe Crook, Brownsville Citizens Review Board.

"We now need to heal. We need to bring peace to this community," added Jean Carney, Brownsville Citizens Review Board.

The board will make recommendations to the mayor.

Chief Lea says he should have never let the photo be taken.

"I apologize for it even happening," he said. "As much as it takes. That's how much it means to me. On a personal level."

The Brownsville Citizens Review Board will recommend to the mayor that the police chief write letter of apology to the NAACP, to the mayor, and the board of alderman.

A letter of reprimand will go in his personnel file.

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