Not sure if this was supposed to be a joke or not, but some officers from Minneapolis Police Department’s 4th Precinct thought it was a grand idea to decorate the Christmas tree inside the building with various bits of trash, including half-crushed cans of Steel Reserve malt liquor, bags of Takis and Funyuns, a cup from Popeyes and two packs of Newport cigarettes, all topped off by yellow crime-scene tape. Some people, include City Councilman Phillipe Cunningham, saw the trash-littered tree as a swipe at the Black community, the Washington Post reports. 

“These pieces of trash were deliberately chosen to represent how certain officers feel about the community they serve: that Black people are a stereotype to be mocked and the lives of those they serve may as well be reduced to trash in the gutter,” Cunningham, who represents the majority-Black Near North neighborhood where the 4th Precinct is located, said.

Two officers were reportedly the ones who dressed the tree, and they were put on leave on Friday after swift backlash from the Black community and public officials.

Even Mayor Jacob Frey joined in the harsh criticism, slamming the tree as “racist, despicable and well beneath the standards of any person who serves the city of Minneapolis.”

And needless to say, the tree did nothing to soothe the distrust that exists between the police and the Black community.

As the Post notes, it was three years ago that organizers held an 18-day occupation outside the 4th Precinct in protest of Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old Black man who was shot to death by police.

“I just could not believe that after everything we’ve been through to try to change the narrative about the African American community, that our police officers still held that same mind-set,” Black Lives Matter Twin Cities activist Chauntyll Allen said at a news conference. “They have no respect for the lives that have been lost.”