Detroit Police Chief James Craig has denied being a 'Sambo' after he was handed a 'Sambo Award' by local Black activists.

The 'Call ‘Em Out Coalition' issued the annual awards to Craig and Detroit Water and Sewerage Department Director Gary Brown, who has directed water shutoffs for tens of thousands of Detroit residents.

"Should we give them a pass because they are African American and they can make these racially insensitive remarks, I say they don't get a pass," Craig said during a press conference. 

"It certainly wasn't a flattering comment; it was racial insensitive."

"Many African-Americans don't want to be police officers, so we go through great pain to try to encourage and embrace," Craig said.

"We certainly do a lot in the African-American community in terms of recruitment."

He also explained that the term 'Step and fetch it,' overly apologetic to whites, it was used a lot during slavery, and so for me, it is very hurtful." 

But the 'Call Em Out Coalition' president Agnes Hitchcock feels the award was well-earned:

"A Sambo is a negro who serves the interest of his oppressor over the interest of his own people," she said during a radio interview.

"When Mayor Young left the city of Detroit, left office, the police department was 95 percent Black. Today, the chief is lording over a 55 percent Black police department," Hitchcock continued.

"If you can't find black police officers, you're a Sambo. If you turn black people's water off in the city of Detroit, you're a Sambo."