Two police officers have been placed on leave after 'racist' Christmas tree display sparks outrage

The Minneapolis police department has placed two of its officers on leave after a Christmas tree display was deemed racist. 

According to the Star Tribune, the controversy began when a photo was shared on social media showing the Christmas tree at the Fourth Precinct station adorned with “a Newport cigarette pack, a can of Steel Reserve malt liquor, police tape, a bag of Takis and a cup from Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.” 

The image was widely denounced, with prominent civil rights figure Ron Edwards calling it “a modern-day version of a dog whistle, tainted with racism, specifically against the African-American community.” 

Though the entire tree has since been taken down, WCCO reports, the offensive items have stirred resentments from the community which was rocked by the police shooting death of Jamar Clark in 2015. 

The city’s mayor Jacob Frey quickly blasted the so-called decorations, saying, in part: “This behavior is racist, despicable, and is well beneath the standards of any person who serves the city of Minneapolis. The offending party will be fired before the day is over.” 

However, he later backtracked somewhat, stating: “We have a process that we are required to go through by law, but yes, that is my opinion about where the process should go.” 

Meanwhile, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo has said that he is “ashamed and appalled by the behavior” and confirmed a full investigation is underway.

Related: See the White House's Christmas decorations: 

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2018 White House Christmas decorations
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2018 White House Christmas decorations
Christmas decorations are seen at the White House during a preview of the 2018 holiday decor in Washington, DC, on November 26, 2018. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Topiary trees line the East colonnade during the 2018 Christmas Press Preview at the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. Christmas has arrived at the White House. First lady Melania Trump unveiled the 2018 White House holiday decor on Monday. She designed the decor, which features a theme of "American Treasures." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: Carrying first lady Melania Trump's 'Be Best' initiative, the Red Room is decorated to 'celebrate children through the décor, which displays ways in which children can excel in their own path' at the White House November 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The 2018 theme of the White House holiday decorations is 'American Treasures,' and features patriotic displays highlighting the country's 'unique heritage.' The White House expects to host 100 open houses and more than 30,000 guests who will tour the topiary trees, architectural models of major U.S. cities, the Gold Star family tree and national monuments in gingerbread. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Christmas decorations are seen at the White House during a preview of the 2018 holiday decor in Washington, DC, on November 26, 2018. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: Carrying first lady Melania Trump's 'Be Best' initiative, the Red Room is decorated to 'celebrate children through the décor, which displays ways in which children can excel in their own path' at the White House November 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The 2018 theme of the White House holiday decorations is 'American Treasures,' and features patriotic displays highlighting the country's 'unique heritage.' The White House expects to host 100 open houses and more than 30,000 guests who will tour the topiary trees, architectural models of major U.S. cities, the Gold Star family tree and national monuments in gingerbread. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
An ornament with an image of President George Washington is seen during the 2018 Christmas preview at the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. Christmas has arrived at the White House for 2018 as first lady Melania Trump unveiled the holiday decor. She designed the decor, which features a theme of "American Treasures." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
A wreath made of "Be Best" pencils is seen in the Red Room during a 2018 Christmas preview at the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. Christmas has arrived at the White House for 2018 as first lady Melania Trump unveiled the holiday decor. She designed the decor, which features a theme of "American Treasures." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: Carrying first lady Melania Trump's 'Be Best' initiative, the Red Room is decorated to 'celebrate children through the décor, which displays ways in which children can excel in their own path' at the White House November 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The 2018 theme of the White House holiday decorations is 'American Treasures,' and features patriotic displays highlighting the country's 'unique heritage.' The White House expects to host 100 open houses and more than 30,000 guests who will tour the topiary trees, architectural models of major U.S. cities, the Gold Star family tree and national monuments in gingerbread. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: Carrying first lady Melania Trump's 'Be Best' initiative, the Red Room is decorated to 'celebrate children through the décor, which displays ways in which children can excel in their own path' at the White House November 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The 2018 theme of the White House holiday decorations is 'American Treasures,' and features patriotic displays highlighting the country's 'unique heritage.' The White House expects to host 100 open houses and more than 30,000 guests who will tour the topiary trees, architectural models of major U.S. cities, the Gold Star family tree and national monuments in gingerbread. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: At 18 feet tall, the official White House Christmas is dressed in over 500 feet of blue velvet ribbon embroidered in gold with each state and territory, on display inside the Blue Room at the White House November 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The 2018 theme of the White House holiday decorations is 'American Treasures,' and features patriotic displays highlighting the country's 'unique heritage.' The White House expects to host 100 open houses and more than 30,000 guests who will tour the topiary trees, architectural models of major U.S. cities, the Gold Star family tree and national monuments in gingerbread. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: At 18 feet tall, the official White House Christmas is dressed in over 500 feet of blue velvet ribbon embroidered in gold with each state and territory, on display inside the Blue Room at the White House November 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The 2018 theme of the White House holiday decorations is 'American Treasures,' and features patriotic displays highlighting the country's 'unique heritage.' The White House expects to host 100 open houses and more than 30,000 guests who will tour the topiary trees, architectural models of major U.S. cities, the Gold Star family tree and national monuments in gingerbread. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Christmas decorations are seen at the White House during a preview of the 2018 holiday decor in Washington, DC, on November 26, 2018. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: At 18 feet tall, the official White House Christmas is dressed in over 500 feet of blue velvet ribbon embroidered in gold with each state and territory, on display inside the Blue Room at the White House November 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The 2018 theme of the White House holiday decorations is 'American Treasures,' and features patriotic displays highlighting the country's 'unique heritage.' The White House expects to host 100 open houses and more than 30,000 guests who will tour the topiary trees, architectural models of major U.S. cities, the Gold Star family tree and national monuments in gingerbread. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: Holiday decorations celebrating the 'country’s national symbols, including the bald eagle, the rose, and the oak tree' are on display in the State Dining Room at the White House November 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The 2018 theme of the White House holiday decorations is 'American Treasures,' and features patriotic displays highlighting the country's 'unique heritage.' The White House expects to host 100 open houses and more than 30,000 guests who will tour the topiary trees, architectural models of major U.S. cities, the Gold Star family tree and national monuments in gingerbread. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: Gingerbread buildings from the National Mall, including the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the White House are on display in the State Dining Room at the White House November 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The 2018 theme of the White House holiday decorations is 'American Treasures,' and features patriotic displays highlighting the country's 'unique heritage.' The White House expects to host 100 open houses and more than 30,000 guests who will tour the topiary trees, architectural models of major U.S. cities, the Gold Star family tree and national monuments in gingerbread. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Christmas decorations are seen at the White House during a preview of the 2018 holiday decor in Washington, DC, on November 26, 2018. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Christmas decorations are seen at the White House during a preview of the 2018 holiday decor in Washington, DC, on November 26, 2018. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Christmas decorations are seen at the White House during a preview of the 2018 holiday decor in Washington, DC, on November 26, 2018. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: Holiday decorations celebrating the 'country’s national symbols, including the bald eagle, the rose, and the oak tree' are on display in the State Dining Room at the White House November 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The 2018 theme of the White House holiday decorations is 'American Treasures,' and features patriotic displays highlighting the country's 'unique heritage.' The White House expects to host 100 open houses and more than 30,000 guests who will tour the topiary trees, architectural models of major U.S. cities, the Gold Star family tree and national monuments in gingerbread. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: The United States Marine Band performs holiday music in the decorated Grand Foyer at the White House November 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The 2018 theme of the White House holiday decorations is 'American Treasures,' and features patriotic displays highlighting the country's 'unique heritage.' The White House expects to host 100 open houses and more than 30,000 guests who will tour the topiary trees, architectural models of major U.S. cities, the Gold Star family tree and national monuments in gingerbread. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Christmas decorations are seen at the White House during a preview of the 2018 holiday decor in Washington, DC, on November 26, 2018. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
A tree is seen at the White House during a preview of the 2018 holiday decor in Washington, DC, on November 26, 2018. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Christmas decorations are seen at the White House during a preview of the 2018 holiday decor in Washington, DC, on November 26, 2018. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: Trees decorated for the holidays line the Cross Hall as projections of foliage run the length of the ceiling at the White House November 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The 2018 theme of the White House holiday decorations is 'American Treasures,' and features patriotic displays highlighting the country's 'unique heritage.' The White House expects to host 100 open houses and more than 30,000 guests who will tour the topiary trees, architectural models of major U.S. cities, the Gold Star family tree and national monuments in gingerbread. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The First Family's official Christmas ornament is seen during the press preview at the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. Christmas has arrived at the White House for 2018 as first lady Melania Trump unveiled the holiday decor. She designed the decor, which features a theme of "American Treasures." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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