Police Abuse

Police Union Objects to 'Black Lives Matter' Shirts Being Sold on Amazon

FOP president calls the products "offensive," wants them removed.

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Stephen D. Melkisethian/flickr

The president of the Fraternal Order of Police urged Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to remove shirts and sweatshirts with the slogans "Black Lives Matter," "Bulletproof," and the "urban myth of 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot'" from its website, saying in a letter the products were "offensive to the public" and "may damage your company's good name amongst FOP members and other active and retired law enforcement officers."

"I am saddened to learn that these third party sellers are making money by exploiting the racial divisions in our country—divisions that the FOP is working hard to heal at the local, State and national level," Fraternal Order of Police National President Chuck Canterbury wrote. "Commercializing our differences and perpetuating the myths which harm the relationships between the protectors and their communities is wrong at any time of year, but it is especially egregious now."

Canterbury did not explain how these phrases were offensive of what he thought they meant. Police unions and other apologists have often complained that publicizing incidents of police brutality were problematic to policing. The description of "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" as an "urban myth" refers to the Justice Department's finding that in Ferguson, where the phrase first gained popularity, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer, did not have his hands up when he was shot as his supporters first claimed. "Black Lives Matter" is a hashtag slogan turned leaderless movement largely organized around police reform. Some affiliated activists released a set of police reform proposals in the summer of 2015 under the label Campaign Zero.

Earlier this year, a far left group calling itself the "Movement for Black Lives" (MBL) tried to hijack the broader police reform movement with an agenda that was largely not about police reform (although MBL did take a stand against body cameras, which Campaign Zero supported). It's also hard to pin down who is in Black Lives Matter. The slogan was formed after the acquittal of George Zimmerman, a private citizen who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Florida, and there's a distinction between the leaderless movement and organizations that use the name. Deray Mckesson, one of the most prominent activists within Black Lives Matter, says he's not part of the organization. He is one of the creators of Campaign Zero, although the reasonable reforms presented by that campaign do not appear to have been adopted or actively advocated for by other activists who identify with the movement.

Black Lives Matter has also been connected to at least two shootings of police officers—in Dallas and in Baton Rouge, because the alleged assailants had purportedly made sympathetic statements about the movement. Prominent activists rejected the contention, saying the movement rejected violence. It's difficult to police specific ideas in a leaderless movement like Black Lives Matter. On top of that, the American political chattering class' post-tragedy tradition of trying to pin the psychopath on a specific political camp or movement contributes to a culture where the criminal acts of individuals are used to sully entire groups of people, from the Tea Party, to pro-lifers, to Black Lives Matter or whatever else.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, for example, identified the Baton Rouge police shooting as a right-wing act because the shooter was purportedly a member of a black "sovereign citizens" group. (N.b., they also identified the mass shooting at a gay night club in Orlando as a right wing act despite the shooter purportedly pledging allegiance to ISIS).

The FOP letter about the Black Lives Matter T-shirt also contributes to this collectivist perspective on political movements, reflecting a long-term strategy by police unions and other apologists to paint the broad movement in favor of police reform as a violent fringe group defined by the most outlandish statements and acts available that can even remotely be associated with the Black Lives Matter movement. All political factions in the U.S. should end the harmful practice of tying the acts and statements of deranged, fringe individuals to the politics of their opponents.

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  1. Waaaah. People are criticizing us! We used to be immune to it! It’s not faaaaaaaair!

    1. Yeah, no kidding – all they deserve is a “fuck off, slaver”.

  2. Thank god for the SPLC: A rock of veracity in a sea of fakeness!

    1. Hoping for sarcasm tag….

      1. Recalibrate sarc meter, plz.

    2. Have they labeled Reason yet?

      1. Not until someone spelled SPLC as “$PLC” yet. 😉

  3. The FOP can suck a bag of dicks.

      1. Wasn’t there an elevator scene with a bag of dicks in his show?

    1. You don’t want them to eat a bag of dicks – too fat already are they?

  4. “The Southern Poverty Law Center, for example, identified the Baton Rouge police shooting as a right-wing act because the shooter was purportedly a member of a black “sovereign citizens” group. (N.b., they also identified the mass shooting at a gay night club in Orlando as a right wing act despite the shooter purportedly pledging allegiance to ISIS)”

    What would the SPLC consider a left-wing act? I would seriously love to know.

    1. Adopting puppies and world peace.

    2. Certainly not one of their readers targeting a group on their list of “hate groups”.

      1. They had it coming!

    3. If Stalin robbing banks for the cause didn’t make their list, nothing will.

    4. Did any of this vandalism make the Leftlist, or did they keep it over on the right side?

    5. Absolutely nothing.

  5. “Blue Lives Matter” has been connected to 100% of shootings by the police.

    Why isn’t anyone reporting on that?

  6. I wonder if the FOP will link to my (yet to be produced) “Hands Up, Don’t Breathe!” shirts?

  7. Come on, you FAPpers, the Black Lives Matter folks are perfect foils for you – their Sharptonesque posturing and criminal behavior boosts your popularity, while their charges of racism are easily met by showing that you abuse non-cops without regard to race.

    1. This is FOP, not FAP. FAP is what Tulpa does while he watches videos of cops shooting people and dogs.

      1. I know, I just like the idea of a Fraternal Association of Police.

        1. There’s also WANK: The Widespread Association of National Koppers.

          1. Privileged Order of Rogue Knights.

          2. BATERS: Badged Assailants for Tyrannical Enforcement of Regulations and Statutes

          3. Department Of Notionally Useful Tyranny -> D.O.N.U.T.

  8. It seems obvious to me that the statement “black lives matter,” even taken by itself without any other context, is inherently offensive to cops (and their bootlickers).

  9. If the cops are so offended, then they can boycott Amazon. The boycott of North Carolina was pretty successful by the social signalers, so the million or so cops in this country can try their hand at it too.

  10. If Amazon wants to be honest against racism like they claimed when they went after Confederate shit they shouldn’t have BLM shit.

  11. Nobody has to “paint them”. They’ve done an awesome job themselves. BLM Toronto’s leader has come out with virulently racist statements over and over, as have other leaders of BLM chapters. they have hijacked vigils for victims of the Orlando terrorist attack, strong armed marchers for other causes into ceding to BLM demands, and engaged In a consistent pattern of anti-police bigotry and hate, as well as racism.

    Despite the media’s loving support for BLM (and nearly complete silence on the 5 studies showing no anti black bias in police shootings), the public still respect cops in much higher #’s than BLM

    Police and police unions absolutely will use our collective strength to object/boycott/persuade etc.
    BLM has the right to protest the police. We have the right to protest BLM and to try to convince amazon not to sell stuff that enables, emboldens, or aids BLM in any way

    Worst of all, 2017 saw a massive “ferguson effect”, spike in violent crime and murders overwhelmingly disproportionately affecting blacks, caused in part by BLM and media (“hands up don’t shoot”, Freddie gray nonsense etc.) incentivizing criminals and causing massive depolicing.

    Baltimore is now at all time homicide rate POST Freddie Gray.

    That’s not a coincidence. crime spiked massively the MONTH AFTER the (bogus ) indictments

    BLM has only caused death and suffering – disproportionately to the very people they claim to care about

    1. Honest question, how long will old alignment between Democrat urban machines in the cities and cops remain? Cop unions have been good Democrats for a long time, ever since Nixon I’d guess.

    2. To repeat what I said above:

      “…the Black Lives Matter folks are perfect foils for you – their Sharptonesque posturing and criminal behavior boosts your popularity, while their charges of racism are easily met by showing that you abuse non-cops without regard to race.”

      “2017 saw a massive ‘ferguson effect'”

      Unless you’re Nostradamus, you probably mean 2016 – I’m inclined to agree.

      But there is some tension in that the Dems are the biggest supporters of public-sector unions – Reps may twist themselves into support for such unions in the name of law and order, but they’re more likely than Dems to roll back union privilege in general – I guess you just have to keep hoping that the Reps will keep making an exception for *your* unions, otherwise you’re going to have to face up to the sharing a political bed with BLM.

      1. And when Republicans have defanged unions (as in Wisconsin) the cops and firefighters’ unions were indeed insulated. So that hope is justified by history.

      2. “To repeat what I said above:”

        Repeating it doesn’t make it any truer. BLM is a fairly radical outfit, actually associated with attacking the state and her minions. Sharpton is an establishment figure, trotted out by the press at times of trouble to urge calm. I’m sure you would be much more comfortable with Sharpton than any wild-eyed BLM activist. How on earth you manage to conflate the two is a testament to your ignorance.

        1. How? It is easy. The B in BLM clinches it

  12. Snowflakes! Cannot even tolerate a different opinion on a sweatshirt.

    Well, at least reason.com conservatives are up on it.

    1. Look, it’s puss puss the troll….

  13. I wish I would have thought of selling BLM shirts a year ago.

    Might as well make a few bucks off of them.

  14. Once you begin the precedent of banning things that you disagree with, it is only a matter of time before the same weapon will be used against you. This could have reasonably be predicted when the calls for banning the Confederate flag started. One can only wonder what some group will demand be banned next.

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  16. How about fighting fire with fire, like selling a parody of these t-shirts by using some memes? Like for example a t-shirt who said “Black Lives matter, sponsored by George Soros”. https://memegenerator.net/instance/72334930 Or a more politically incorrect one. https://memegenerator.net/instance/72334930

    1. Looks like one guy stepped on this occasion to post it on Meme Generator and there some others at https://archive.is/FXanI

  17. There is precedent. Someone came out with t-shirts with Coca*_*_* written on them, and the Drogenbek?mpfung Arbeiterpartei? (a wholly-owned subsidiary of God’s Own Prohibitionists?) offered to go postal with assault rifles for as long as victims and ammo held out. The t-shirts (thoughtfully already red, so as to not shock when bloodstained) disappeared of the Gestapo-regulated market.

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  19. Remember if you don’t support an oppressed group even if sometimes they are a pain you could be next.

  20. It’s called Freedom of Speech. Something cops don’t seem to understand. On my way to Amazon now to get a shirt!!

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    -jcr

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