White Cop Gets Desk Duty For Cornrows
A white Philadelphia police officer has been forced to do desk duty and cut his hair by his black superior after showing up for work with cornrows, traditionally a black hairdo. Thomas Strain, who has five years experience in his job, got taken to the inspector's office and was taken off the street on September 3rd, the day he got the cornrows in his hair.
Thomas Strain of Philadelphia's 35th District has declined to comment on the incident, but many of his colleagues are calling the action discriminatory. According to Philly.com, dozens of black police officers have cornrows. But Strain's superior Aaron Horne found the cornrows unprofessional.
Police policy states that officers' hair has to be "clean, properly trimmed and combed", so that they are able to wear their hats "in a military manner", according to police spokesman Frank Vanore. Police policy does not ban hairstyles such as cornrows, mohawks or dreadlocks, but police officers are not allowed to dye their hair in unnatural colors. Vanore did not see Strain's cornrows, but speculated that they may prevented him from wearing his hat properly.
"It's absolutely discriminatory," said one officer. Strain's cornrows 'do "was neat. It was above his collar. It's not like he shaved a Nazi sign or something anti-black or anti-Hispanic on his head. It's just cornrows. I don't know what the problem is."
This isn't the first time an officer's appearance has caused commotion in the 35th District.
Officer Kimberlie Webb in 2005 sued the city and the police department after she was barred from wearing a hijab, or Muslim head scarf, on the job. A federal appeals court last April upheld the department's policy, saying religious garb imperils the department's appearance of "religious neutrality."