Detroit police chief fires back at activist group for 'Sambo Awards'

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Detroit police chief James Craig is appalled he and city water director Gary Brown were selected to receive the “Sambo Award" by the Call Em Out Coalition.

"Should we give them a pass because they are African American and they can make these racially insensitive remarks, I say they don't get a pass," Chief James Craig said. "It certainly wasn't a flattering comment; it was racial insensitive."

"Sambo" was a common name given to African-Americans during slavery that is now perceived to be demeaning. The chief had this to say about the derogatory term

"'Step and fetch it,' overly apologetic to whites, it was used a lot during slavery, and so for me, it is very hurtful," Craig said.

The "Sambo Awards" were given our last week at a dinner to honor the former and late Detroit Mayor Coleman Young.

"To even attach Coleman Young to that award is wrong," Craig said.

Chief Craig says to have him under fire for recruitment efforts of African-Americans is wrong 

"Many African-Americans don't want to be police officers," he said. "So we go through great pains to try and encourage, embrace and we do a lot in the African-American community in terms of recruitment."

FOX 2 reached out to the President of the Call Em Out Coalition, activist Agnes Hitchcock, but we are still awaiting a response.

The MC for the event was activist and 910 AM radio host Sam Riddle.

"When you say you are outraged at the Sambo Awards, I say to you 'Hollywood Craig' and I say to you, Gary Brown, so (expletive) what," Riddle said on his radio show.

In a statement he told FOX 2 that he will have a complete statement Tuesday at 11 a.m. when he does Riddle@Random on 910 AM.

Chief Craig says he sees a double standard in tolerance and believes the reaction would be different if the term had been used by whites. In fact, Craig referred to the recent outrage over derogatory comments made by a white police officer who was removed from his department.

"If a white police officer made that same comment to them, the people would want me to fire that officer," Craig said.