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Winston-Salem, N.C. – A North Carolina police chief is apologizing after officers carried a stuffed black dreadlock-wearing monkey in the back seat of their police cruiser.

Winston-Salem Police Chief Catrina Thompson said Wednesday that the stuffed animal was removed from the patrol car after a woman who posted a video of it on Facebook called it the most racist thing she’d ever seen.

Police said the toy was used to calm children who have been traumatized by anything from a fire to an act of violence.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports the chief said she understands why people were offended. Thompson said steps are being taken to make sure nothing like that happens again.

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