(CBS) —Was it a bad a choice of an iconic song? Or was it a racist message to weekend protesters?
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker takes a look at why “Sweet Home, Alabama” is leaving some on a sour note.
The 1974 hit by Lynyrd Skynyrd is considered by some to be an anthem that celebrates the confederate South.
It was heard in Chicago’s Garfield Park neighborhood, during a peaceful protest against police brutality, in support of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. The song is heard blaring from the windows of an unmarked gray police car, in a video posted on YouTube this weekend.
“I couldn’t believe it was happening,” says Gabriel Michael, who shot the video.
He says there were four officers in the car trailing the protesters as they headed for Garfield Park.
“They all appeared to be white or Latino,” he says. “They seemed to be grinning inside.”
Michael says he thinks the cops were possibly trying to instigate protesters, given the song’s meaning to some.
Organizers of the West Side protest went further, saying the incident “is another sharp example of the naked racism and white supremacy rampant in this society.”
But defenders of the police, who declined to go on camera, say the officers may have just been listening to a favorite song, or preparing to cheer on Alabama, which played later in the day. Michael says, if so, the timing was bad.
Chicago police say they’re investigating.
“As a Department, we are committed to community policing and fostering stronger relationships, based on trust and understanding, with the communities we serve. With respect to the peaceful protests, as you have seen over the past week CPD is dedicated to protecting residents’ right to free speech and peaceful assembly,” a statement issued by the department said.
The Fraternal Order of Police, which represents police officers, did not respond to a request for an interview.