Denver’s police union is facing criticism for printing a commemorative T-shirt that makes light of the use of violence by police, particularly in the wake of 154 arrests during the week of Democratic National Convention this past August.
“We get up early, to beat the crowds,” the shirt reads, followed by “2008 DNC.” The words flank a grinning police officer holding a baton and wearing a hat with a crossed-out number “68,” presumably making reference to activist organization Recreate 68, which staged several anti-war demonstrations during the convention.
“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,” said Recreate 68′s Glenn Spagnuolo. “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. 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.”
Detective Nick Rogers of the Police Protective Association said that the union predicts sales of about 2,000 shirts in addition to the ones given free to Denver police officers, and also told KMGH that he hadn’t received any complaints about the shirt.
A picture of the design, courtesy of KMGH, can be viewed at this link.