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The attack was every police officer’s worst nightmare: A gunman walks up to a marked patrol car, shooting the two people inside at close range because of the uniforms on their backs.

Surveillance video of the brazen deed near a Compton Metro station provoked wide outrage, from presidential candidates to ordinary citizens.

But the agency’s response to the attack has raised alarms among some activists, lawmakers and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department watchdogs, who question whether the aggressive rhetoric is inflaming rather than easing tensions at a moment when community groups are protesting several controversial shootings by deputies amid a national discussion over policing and race.

Within 24 hours, a longtime Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman posted tweets about the attack that employed racist stereotypes in reference to a reward for information leading to the arrest of the shooter. In one post accompanied by a GIF of a Black man shuffling bills, she wrote: “And here’s the neighborhood homies and enemies ‘bout to come up’ on that $100,000 #REWARD because $100,000 dollas is $100,000 dollas.”

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