Maryland police say creator of offensive ‘challenge coin’ identified

Officials from Maryland State Police said they have identified the individual who created and distributed a “Challenge Coin” inscribed with the Maryland State Police logo along with graphic imagery and offensive language.

In a statement Wednesday, authorities said their investigation found “the design and manufacture of the coin were coordinated by a former member of the Maryland State Police, who left the Department in 2012.”

Challenge coins are typically tokens that people in organizations, such as law enforcement, collect to commemorate events or membership.

Officials with Maryland State Police said they have uncovered the identity of the individual who created and distributed an offensive “Challenge Coin” among its ranks. (Courtesy Maryland State Police)

The coin in question displayed the state police insignia with an illustration of a woman in thong underwear. The words “I’m offended” are printed on the underwear and the words “Generation Butt Hurt” appear above the drawing.

Some troopers who have seen the coin said it was a response to racial discrimination allegations against MSP in recent years.

In the statement, Colonel Woodrow W. Jones III, superintendent of the Maryland State Police, said, “Although it has been determined a current member of the Maryland State Police was not involved in the manufacture of this item, I am still disgusted to know that anyone who wore this uniform would create something that demeans others and disregards our core values and all this Department stands for.”

The Coalition of Black Maryland State Troopers, the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives and others questioned what the coin said about the agency’s culture and whether the coin was a message to Black troopers who raised issues about racism.

NAACP Branch President Ryan Coleman said in a statement last week he heard from troopers who saw the coin as attempting to “downplay the plight of minority and women troopers” and reflected a culture that could be having a negative effect on residents.

“If people of color who are troopers, or police who are women, if they’re not being treated properly, how is the regular citizen going to be treated?” Coleman said.

Sgt. Anthony Alexander, the coalition’s president, said last week that the coin showed more change is needed to the agency’s culture.

“This action has disrupted our efforts to improve relationships among all our employees and with the citizens we serve,” Jones said in the statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Joshua Barlow

Joshua Barlow is a writer, composer, and producer who has worked for CGTN, Atlantic Public Media, and National Public Radio. He lives in Northeast Washington, D.C., where he pays attention to developments in his neighborhood, economic issues, and social justice.

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