Thursday, September 25, 2008

Recreate-68 unhappy with cop t-shirt

You knew this was coming:

Recreate 68 Calls for Accountability for Police Protective Association T-shirt

DENVER, September 28, 2008 - Denver ­CBS4 reported yesterday that the Denver Police Protective Association, the union representing most of Denver's police officers, has created and distributed a "tongue-in-cheek" t-shirt that suggests that "Denver's finest" think that beating people exercising their First Amendment rights is part of their job.

As described by Brian Maass, the back of the shirt­ given free to every Denver police officer and now being sold to other departments­ "features a menacing-looking police figure, wearing what looks like a Denver police badge and helmet and clutching a baton" with the slogan "WE GET UP EARLY, to BEAT the crowds," and "2008 DNC." The front shows the number 68 with a slash through it, an obvious reference to Recreate 68 (R-68), which organized, as promised, several peaceful, non-violent demonstrations during the DNC. It was initially reported to R-68 that officers were wearing the t-shirt under their riot gear during the convention, but the rumor was unable to be substaintiated at the time.
Substaintiated. That's our Glenn.
The people of Denver were assured by the city that it would respect First Amendment rights during the DNC, and that that police officers were being trained to do so. The actions of police during the DNC, which involved numerous violations of people's right to freedom of speech and assembly, put the lie to those promises. And now this appalling, tasteless t-shirt shows why. The members of Denver's police union clearly have no respect for the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
They have no respect for something, anyway.
The Denver Police Department Operations Manual includes a Law Enforcement Code of Ethics, which begins, "As a Law Enforcement Officer, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind, to safeguard lives and property, to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the Constitutional rights of all men to liberty, equality and justice." The creation of this t-shirt makes a mockery of that statement.
As always, R68 discredits itself. By and large, the cops did exactly what their code requires: they protected the innocent, the weak and the peaceful from the "disorder and violence" R68 and its minions hoped to create. As for the "numerous" violations of the First Amendment rights of protesters--we're still waiting for the three, four, "or even five" lawsuits you pledged to file, Spagz.

Naturally, there are demands:
We, the Re-create 68 Alliance, demand that Mayor John Hickenlooper, Manager of Safety Al LaCabe and Police Chief Gerald Whitman conduct an investigation into the creation and distribution of this t-shirt; that Nick Rogers, the officer identified as responsible for producing the shirt, and any other officers involved, be disciplined; and that police training regarding civil liberties be reevaluated, because it clearly has not achieved its intended effect. We also demand that Mayor John Hickenlooper and Chief Jerry Whitman issue a public statement condemning this shirt, and condemning the attitude behind it that treats police abuse of power and brutality against peaceful protesters as a joke.
It's the tone that grates.

(via Westword, which for some reason doesn't link to the press release; a cursory look failed to find it on the interweb apparatus)

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