Antonio Gutierrez is being slammed on social media after a photo of him wearing his Halloween costume went viral. According to TMZ, the University of Nevada, Reno, police officer dressed up as former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.
The photo was posted on Instagram and showed Gutierrez wearing a red T-shirt with the number “7” and his former team’s name (“49ers”) written in what appears to be masking tape. Gutierrez also wore an afro wig and a large nose as part of his costume. He completed the look with a sign around his neck that read, “will stand for food,” a clear dig at Kaepernick’s “take a knee” movement.
Here is what you need to know:
1. The Photo Was Shared with the University of Nevada, Reno, Police Department by a Twitter User
A Twitter user with the handle @glaserface decided to send the photo to the University of Nevada, Reno, using the social media platform, letting the school know that one of their officers had dressed up as Kaepernick. Calling the costume “racist,” the Twitter user made sure that the school knew her opinion on the officer’s choice of Halloween costume.
Since it was first posted on October 29, the photo has received more than 1,000 retweets and “likes,” making it go viral. Thousands of people have shared their opinions on the picture, many sending their tweets to the person who first shared the photo.
“It’s a Halloween costume. Ya’ll are too sensitive,” one Twitter user said to @glaserface.
“No we are not! He is racist! Costumes don’t need to portray humans in a racist manner, there are literally thousands of other options,” she responded.
@glaserface user doesn’t reveal her name on her social media account, but instead, uses that space to share the phone number to the United States Capitol switchboard (202-224-3121).
This photo has social media lighting up with all kinds of comments, many debating on whether or not they think that the officer’s costume is racist. You can read some of those tweets below.
2. Director of Police Services Adam Garcia Released a Statement & Apologized
On Sunday, Adam Garcia, Assistant Vice President & Director of Police Services at the University of Nevada, Reno, released a statement about the controversial photo of one of his officers and apologized on behalf of the department. The statement was posted on the university’s website. You can read it below.
“For those who have seen the Halloween costume of one of our officers apparently mocking a citizen who has chosen to take advantage of his constitutional right to protest, I offer my sincere apologies. Members of our profession are held to a higher standard and denigrating another—on or off duty—is insensitive for its lack of respect and lack of understanding on how others may negatively view their actions and may be impacted.”
“I have heard from many members of our community over the past few weeks that they feel unsafe on campus because of our current social and political climate. Behavior such as this magnifies unsafe feelings and lack of trust in police, especially when that individual is responsible for the safety of all members of the University, regardless of color, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion. At a time when officers should be heightened in their attentiveness to perception by our community, this act seems extremely out of touch with those sentiments and reflects poorly on all of us.”
“To regain the trust of our students, and in particular those of color, will be a challenge and will be a priority through continued education, training and conversation.”
3. Gutierrez Will Not Lose His Job
Although the University of Nevada, Reno’s, police department recognizes the “insensitivity and inappropriateness” of Gutierrez’s photo, a spokesperson for the police department confirmed that he will not be losing his job. Gutierrez was not placed on leave, nor was he terminated, as the department doesn’t have a policy that would give them justifiable cause.
“As insensitive and inappropriate as this is, we have no policy that would dictate any disciplinary action,” University of Nevada, Reno, spokeswoman Kerri Garcia told TMZ.
Twitter seems to have mixed reactions to this. Some people think that Gutierrez should have been fired, while others don’t see anything wrong with the picture and think that the department is doing the right thing by leaving him on the force.
4. University of Nevada, Reno, Police Made Headlines Last Month After an Officer Made Inappropriate Comments During a Traffic Stop
A graduate student at the university named Kevin McReynolds was pulled over by an officer on campus on September 24, in what was referred to as a “routine traffic” stop by the Reno Gazette Journal. However, the officer made a remark that might ultimately get him fired.
“I’m just going to shoot him if this goes sideways because f— that,” the officer can be heard saying in a recording captured by an officer’s body camera. The officer who made the comments was placed on administrative leave while an investigation is pending.
“The words that were used during the traffic stop are deplorable and have no place in the important interaction that must occur between members of our community and our Police Department,” Garcia said in a statement.
5. The University of Nevada, Reno, Is Kaepernick’s Alma Mater
Kaerpernick was born in Wisconsin and was adopted by Rick and Teresa Kaepernick. The Kaepernicks moved to California when Colin was just 4 years old. He was a very athletic child and played sports throughout middle school and high school. His sport of choice, at the time, was football, but he also played football.
He earned himself a college scholarship to play at his alma mater, the University of Nevada, Reno — the same school that Gutierrez works at.
“It was only after a tryout at a camp put on by the University of Nevada, Reno, that Kaepernick showed enough to warrant a scholarship, and he subsequently enrolled at the school in the fall of 2007. Recruited to play safety, Kaepernick stepped in to play QB in the fifth game of his freshman year, when the team’s starter went out with an injury against Fresno State,” reports Biography. “After serving as a backup throughout his rookie season to the team’s longtime starter, Alex Smith, Kaepernick took over as the team’s No. 1 quarterback in 2012, after Smith was forced to sit out late in the year as a result of a concussion,” the site added.
Kaerpernick has not commented on the Gutierrez costume controversy.