Once again, spokespersons for police organizations have demonstrated their apparently limitless capacity for poor judgment when they go outside their area of expertise — law enforcement. It was reported in the Thursday, December 22, 2016 Washington Post that Chuck Canterbury, President of the National Fraternal Order of Police Union wrote a letter to the CEO of Walmart protesting (OK) the offering for sale in its stores T-shirts that say “Bullet Proof: Black Lives Matter.” What is NOT OK is including in that letter, a thinly veiled threat to remove these particular T-shirts from Walmart’s shelves, or suffer consequences, to which Walmart is reported to have surrendered, but leaving available for sale those clothing items which did not use the word “Bullet Proof”, but simply read “Black Lives Matter”. The almighty dollar wins again over principle.
Canterbury’s added comment really shows his inability to accept and understand the expression of an opposing view; and why the police are dangerous if not closely controlled. “Commercializing our differences will not help our local police and communities build greater trust and respect for one another”.
Apparently offering for sale an object that expresses an idea the police don’t like is offensive “commercializing”, which undermines greater trust and respect. I suppose the same could be argued against the printer of the pocket edition of the Constitution that I, and thousands of other Americans carry daily because it contains the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution which, arguably, are anti-police because those Amendments are limitations on the power of the agents of the government, the police. How is that printer selling and making a profit, on the Constitution, not offensive “commercializing” of anti-police ideas?
When the police delve into areas where they don’t understand or belong, as they similarly did when they threatened to not protect football teams as they traversed stadium parking lots to the stadium to play a game because a few team members sat or knelt in protest to police violence during the playing of the National Anthem, the police simply underscore the wisdom of the authors of the Bill of Rights, who knew and understood the dangers of unchecked police power.
It’s the same old familiar notion of not minding your own business on display by the National Fraternal Order of Police Union. If they would simply do their job, constitutional law enforcement, and stop whining about an opposing view, constitutionally expressed, the country would be much better off.
This comment by Mr. Canterbury makes just as little sense as the comment of former New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton — see my blog of August 18, 2016 — who blamed the uptick in police violence on “mobs”, bystanders using cell phones to record police interaction, often needlessly abusive and unconstitutional, with the public. Hey cops, if you want trust and respect, just mind your own business, and do your job. When you have perfected constitutional policing, only then can you tell retailers how and what to merchandise. You have a long way to go. A good start would be requiring officers to carry a pocket Constitution on patrol, and once in a while read the Bill of Rights.