PR Fail, Or a Really Good Photoshop Job? [Updated]

The State Police accused someone of photoshopping an offensive sticker onto the back of a cruiser.
Image via Chris Kantos/Mass. State Police

Image via Chris Kantos/Mass. State Police

Update:

After an “investigation,” police admitted that an image of the offensive sticker wasn’t photoshopped, and that a trooper actually removed it from his vehicle.

Earlier:

When Chris Kantos was walking through Boston on Sunday morning, in an alley near East Berkeley Street, he came across an unusual sticker slapped on the back of a State Police cruiser: “Racial Profiling Saves Lives,” it read.

The appearance and saying were alarming, enough so that Kantos publicly asked officers for an explanation—or at least tried to give them a heads up about the sticker.

“Can anyone help me comprehend this Mass. State Police bumper parked in Boston? Vandalism I hope?,” he asked.

The officers got back to Kantos just around noon the following day, sweeping the matter under the rug by telling Kantos the image of the sticker was nothing more than a fake, and that someone likely tampered with the photo he shared on Twitter by digitally manipulating it.

“Unknown to [the Trooper] assigned cruiser, we checked immediately,” police officials said in a tweet to Kantos. “No bumper sticker. #photoshopfail.”

Kantos didn’t like that accusation so much, however, since he took the photo, which was even timestamped and marked via geolocation on his iPhone.

“Thank you, Mass. State Police for the photoshop accusation!,” said Kantos in his response, before he shared the screengrab of when and where the photo was taken, as well as a second image where his shadow from him standing behind the cruiser taking the photo could be seen. “The only unrealistic thing about these photos is that my battery life is at 98%.”

Police haven’t responded to Kantos, but the sticker doesn’t appear to be on the cruiser any longer. Whether the police removed it shortly after Kantos noticed it over the weekend, or as soon as Kantos tweeted at them remains a mystery.

But one mystery that’s easy enough to solve is this: Kantos probably has less to lose by photoshopping an image with a fake, offensive sticker, than police do for driving around with it unknowingly on their car.

Following the back-and-forth, some people had suggestions for how it should have been handled instead:


Steve Annear Steve Annear, Digital Writer at Boston Magazine sannear@bostonmagazine.com