A New Zealand police officer has doubled down after a photo of a rainbow police car received “hateful” comments.
On Tuesday, Senior Constable Bryan Ward posted an image of himself in front of NZ Police’s rainbow police car.
The rainbow police car was launched in 2018 for Pride Month.
At the time, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the vehicle was a visible representation of the force’s commitment to diversity.
Senior Constable Ward works as a diversity liaison officer, a role he takes on in addition to his police duties.
He said that after posting the picture, he received a large number of hateful messages and comments.
“Clearly the post struck a chord with some people because I had lots of messages which spouted hatred at me and at the rainbow community,” he said on social media.
‘I will proudly be an ally until my last day on earth’
The negative reaction to the rainbow police car struck a chord with the Senior Constable.
“I deleted all the posts but then started to think…. if I face this as a 26-year veteran of the police (who has many friends and colleagues in the rainbow communities) then imagine the courage it takes to be 15 or 16 years old and be ‘that kid’ and come out,” he wrote.
“To be outed, to be labelled or not understood …and these issues are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ for lots of people in the rainbow communities.
“So now you know why I am a diversity liaison officer for NZ Police. I will proudly be an ally until my last day on earth.”
Senior Constable Ward then spoke directly to the people who had complained about the photo and spoke of his commitment to the NZ rainbow community.
“To all those people who ‘contacted me’ about the pic above – please know that I will continue to post about my role in the police and make sure that if people see me, they will always have my help and support ‘to be safe and feel safe’,” he wrote.
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