White Cops Can't Do Cornrows

Many black officers have the same hairdo

By Karen Araiza
|  Tuesday, Sep 22, 2009  |  Updated 2:04 PM CDT
White Cops Can't Do Cornrows

Philadelphia Daily News

Philadelphia Police Officer Thomas Strain was taken off the street earlier this month after he showed up to work with his hair braided in cornrows. Supervisors didn't allow him to return to street patrol until he cut off the cornrows, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

A white cop who came to work with cornrows got pulled from street duty and stuck behind a desk until he got a new "do," according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

Apparently it's not a big deal if you walk into work with cornrows and you're a black police officer in Philadelphia – dozens of black officers on the force sport the same hairdo, according to the report.

"It's absolutely discriminatory," one officer told the Daily News.

Officer Thomas Strain is with the 35th District and his supervisor, Inspector Aaron Horne, ordered Strain to chop off his braids and get a more professional hairstyle.

"The policy's the policy, it doesn't matter what race you are," police spokesman, Lt. Frank Vanore told the paper. Department policy requires officers to have "clean, properly trimmed and combed hair" that doesn't prevent them from wearing their uniform hat "in a military-manner," Vanore said.

Vanore, who didn't see Strain's cornrows, speculated that the hat-wearing part of the policy may have been the problem. Asked why black officers with cornrows weren't ordered to get haircuts, Vanore didn't have an explanation, according to the report, but did say that if the black officers are women, the policy is not as strict.

Officer Strain cut his braids off after two days on desk duty.

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