COPA investigating after CPD officer accused of wearing blackface to party

CHICAGO (Fox 32 News) - The Civilian Office of Police Accountability confirms they have opened a case that centers around a photo of a man in blackface. That man may be a Chicago police officer.

The photo shows a man in a sailor suit in black face standing next to a woman in a mermaid costume.

While it’s been shared hundreds of times this week on social media, the Chicago Police Department and COPA aren’t confirming whether it’s the photo that investigators are looking at. A COPA spokesperson said he can’t confirm evidence that may pertain to a pending investigation.

The story has got scholars talking about the implications of black face, the history of it, and why it’s offensive, still today.

"There was never any point to it other than to literally make fun of African Americans,” said Dr. Joseph Flynn with Northern Illinois University’s Center for Black Studies.

Dr. Flynn says black face took off with Vaudeville actors in the 1800s.

"And ever since then, it's been nothing but a painful stab at black culture and black folks in general. To know that potentially a Chicago police officer has that in his history, that's problematic,” said Flynn.

Chicago police are also not commenting on the case. We reached out to the Fraternal Order of Police, but haven’t heard back from them.