If the police targeted the KKK and white male homegrown terrorists, the way they are targeting Black Lives Matter, maybe we’d have peace in this country. I don’t know when the FOP became the head of WalMart or Amazon but apparently, they are calling shots in these large corporations.
Tuesday, WalMart agreed to pull a hoodie that the FOP found controversial, from its stores. The shirt reads BULLETPROOF in bold letters and the words Black Lives Matters beneath it. The FOP sent a letter to WalMart accusing the company of “profiting from racial division’ as if having them pull a shirt stating Black Lives Matter isn’t divisive in and of itself.
Anyone with an ounce of common sense has to question why the Fraternal Order of Police has been so vigilant against Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matters is not a hate group, it’s not a group who urges violence or brutality against any group of people, especially police. If anything, the Black Lives Matters movement is dead set on a meeting of the minds with police. True followers of the movement seek better training, better community/police interaction, accountability and transparency. If those things are threatening to any police office, that officer is a threat to society.
National Fraternal Order of Police president, Chuck Canterbury called the shirt “offensive” because of the “amount of violence demonstrated at Black Lives Matter marches and the fact that eight police officers had been assassinated while protecting Black Lives Matter protests.” The gunman who shot the officers in Dallas had no affiliation to Black Lives Matters.
I brought Canterbury to readers attention in January when he sent President Obama a letter urging the president to make violence against police a hate crime.
In his letter to WalMart, Canterbury stated “Commercializing our differences will not help our local police and communities to build greater trust and respect for one another. Turning a buck on strained relationships will not contribute to the healing process.” It almost sounds as if he cares until you see the veiled threat that follows. Canterbury writes of his concern that selling the shirt will, as he put it, “damage your company’s good name amongst FOP members and other active and retired law enforcement officers.”
The FOP president then urged WalMart to pull the hoodie, writing “I know our request that you dissociate the company from these products will be seriously considered.” Within hours, WalMart issued a statement announcing it would pull the hoodie after “complaints from customers.” WalMart did not say whether they would be pulling any other Black Lives Matters merchandise. The store’s website sells “Black Lives Matter”, “Blue Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matters” merchandise. The shirts were not available in WalMart stores, but through the website from a third-party retailer.
“Like other online retailers, we have a marketplace with millions of items offered by third parties that includes Blue Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter merchandise. After hearing concerns from customers, we are removing the specific item with the ‘bulletproof’ reference.”
The police union is happy that WalMart has pulled the shirt. James Pasco, Fraternal Order of Police’s Executive Director, says that the FOP does not object to the phrase “Black Lives Matters” in and of itself. “The bulletproof thing goes to the new assertiveness of some violence prone individuals to take action directly against police. We find it offensive for that reason.” He told CNN
The FOP has not contacted the retailer who sold the BULLETPROOF shirts through WalMart’s website, Old Glory. However, Glenn Morelli, Old Glory Merchandise owner, has already announced that he is pulling the shirt as well.
After Chuck Canterbury and the FOP secured their quiet victory against WalMart with its thinly veiled threats of ‘police dissatisfaction and fury’ they moved onto their next target. Canterbury sent a letter to the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. In his letter to Amazon, Canterbury also targets merchandise bearing the slogan “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.”
The idea that the FOP want these shirts removed because the shirts cause divisiveness between them and the community is pure manure. Maybe what is causing the rift between citizens and the police is the 991 people killed by police in 2015 and 955 killed by police in 2016. Maybe it’s watching white officers get found “not guilty” over and over again. Who knows, maybe it’s the way the police are fighting so hard against a group whose one goal is to prove Black Lives Matter.