Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Playing Cops and T-Shirts

The Denver Police Department is facing several lawsuits over confrontations with protesters at the Democratic National Convention.  The officers had conducted mass arrests and detentions of 154 individuals before and during the convention.  One cop, for example, was videotaped pushing a woman to the ground with his baton as he yelled, “Back up, bitch!”  The police are being charged with systematically condoning violence against antiwar demonstrators.

Now, a commemorative T-shirt created and distributed by their union, the Denver Police Protective Association, could be offered as evidence of the cops’ state of mind.  The T-shirt features a menacing depiction of a gigantic, nightstick-wielding cop with a malevolent grin, towering over Denver’s downtown skyline and boasting, “We Get Up Early, to BEAT the Crowds,” along with the slogan, “2008 DNC.”  The cop’s hat has the image of number 68 inside a circle with a slash going through it, an obvious reference to Re-create 68, a protest group which staged several demonstrations.

Shirt producer Nick Rogers said that each of the 1,400 Denver officers was given a free T-shirt, and that they’re being sold for $10.  He said that the police union predicts sales of about 2,000 shirts.  Rogers stated that he hadn’t received any complaints about the shirt.  But Glenn Spagnuolo, co-founder of Re-create 68, did in fact complain that “The members of Denver’s police union clearly have no respect for the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution.”

Re-create 68 has demanded an investigation by officials, including the mayor and the safety manager.  Spagnuolo says that “The people of Denver were assured by the city that it would respect First Amendment rights during the convention, and that the police officers were being trained to do so.  The actions of police during the convention, 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 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.”

Aside from the sexist wording in that opening credo, the T-shirt makes a mockery of the mission statement.  Spagnuolo insists that members of his group saw those shirts before the convention, and that they reflect the brutality exhibited by Denver police officers during the convention.  “We feel like police should not be celebrating violating people’s rights,” he says.  “These shirts set the tone for the beating that our members took.”

Martin Vigil, president of the Denver Police Protective Association, insists that “Nothing really happened.  It wasn’t the event that the anti-government groups anticipated, and the T-shirts are a satirical comment on that, given to officers after the event as a ‘thank you’ for a perfect convention.”  The  police group contends, “Those activists just don’t get the joke.”

“Count us among those who don’t find it very funny,” stated a Denver Post editorial.  “The T-shirt was supposedly a joke.  ‘We get up early to beat the crowds.’  Get it?  ‘Beat’ the crowds.  The shirt undermines the efforts the Denver Police Department has made to boost its credibility in the community….Denver police leadership has been working hard in recent years to improve both its use-of-force practices and its image within the community after several controversial shootings.”

In any case, there’s a certain meta-irony about the name Re-create 68.  Not only did the crossed-out 68 on the hat of the cop on the T-shirt refer to Re-create 68, but also Re-create 68 itself was a reference to the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago where protesters were severely beaten by police.

Moreover, at the 1996 Democratic convention in Chicago, there were T-shirts with the logo of the Chicago Police Department and the legend, “Democratic National Convenion Chicago–1996–We Kicked Your Father’s Ass in 1968–Wait ’Til You See What We Do to You!”

That’s the trouble with a police state.  The cops think it’s a good thing.

PAUL KRASSNER edited Pot Stories For Soul, available at paulkrassner.com.

Your Ad Here
 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Paul Krassner is the editor of The Realist

May 23, 2018
Nick Pemberton
Maduro’s Win: A Bright Spot in Dark Times
Ben Debney
A Faustian Bargain with the Climate Crisis
Deepak Tripathi
A Bloody Hot Summer in Gaza: Parallels With Sharpeville, Soweto and Jallianwala Bagh
Farhang Jahanpour
Pompeo’s Outrageous Speech on Iran
Josh White
Strange Recollections of Old Labour
CJ Hopkins
The Simulation of Democracy
stclair
In Our Age of State Crimes
Dave Lindorff
The Trump White House is a Chaotic Clown Car Filled with Bozos Who Think They’re Brilliant
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Domination of West Virginia
Ty Salandy
The British Royal Wedding, Empire and Colonialism
Laura Flanders
Life or Death to the FCC?
Gary Leupp
Dawn of an Era of Mutual Indignation?
Katalina Khoury
The Notion of Patriarchal White Supremacy Vs. Womanhood
Nicole Rosmarino
The Grassroots Environmental Activist of the Year: Christine Canaly
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
“Michael Inside:” The Prison System in Ireland 
May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail