Warner Bros. publicity photo Al Jolson (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A former Baltimore police officer is planning to perform an Al Jolson routine in blackface to raise money for the six Baltimore officers who have been indicted in the death of Freddie Gray.
Bobby Berger, whose performances as Jolson created tension with the department in the 1980s, said Wednesday that 610 tickets have been sold in eight days at $45 each for the Nov. 1 fundraiser.
Berger says he doesn’t believe there is anything racial about his routine.
But an attorney for the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police says officers don’t support it. Michael Davey says it’s put the officers in a bad position without their knowledge. Gray was Black.
Tessa Hill-Aston, president of the Baltimore branch of the NAACP, says the idea is “very distasteful.”