MCKEESPORT, PA -- A screenshot showing a Pennsylvania police officer in uniform with text that included a racial slur created a social media firestorm Tuesday and cost her two jobs with local departments.
The photo shows Melissa Adamson in full uniform with the caption, "I'm the law today n*****"
"I'm not a racist. That's not how I plan on portraying myself," said Adamson. "I love my job. I love what I do. It's what I want to do for the rest of my life."
Adamson also worked part-time as a police officer in Versailles. She resigned from that job on Tuesday night, Police Chief Charles Roka said.
In the controversial photo, Adamson was wearing a Pitcairn police uniform. She had worked for that borough before being hired in McKeesport.
Pitcairn Police Chief Scott Farally said the photo appears to have been taken months ago, when officers wore long-sleeved uniforms during the winter months. Had it been brought to his attention while Adamson was still employed by Pitcairn, he would have started an investigation, the chief said.
"The picture itself is symbolic. It's non-gesture verbal communication. It's guaranteed under the First Amendment," Farally said. "However, it's the content within that picture that bothers me."
Farally said Adamson resigned from Pitcairn Sept. 20 to take a position with McKeesport.
WTAE reports that Adamson said she knows it was "a stupid mistake" to post the picture, which she said is now being circulated maliciously.
"An altercation happened between me and a former police officer, and he's bringing up this dirt, ruining my career, which has been done," she said.
A McKeesport native, Adamson said the term was used loosely by people around her.
"I'm sorry for who I did offend. It was not my intention. I can't express how sorry I am for how I made you feel -- emotionally, physically. Again, it wasn't my intention," said Adamson.