WION New Delhi, Delhi, India
Dec 23, 2016, 04.14 AM
Walmart has stopped selling t-shirts and sweatshirts featuring the word “Bulletproof” on Black Lives Matter merchandise after the national Fraternal Order of Police, the United States’ largest police organisation, called the slogan offensive.
Walmart said it would remove the shirts which say “Bulletproof”, but not the “Black Lives Matter” shirts, according to The Washington Post.
Chuck Canterbury, the FOP president, in a letter to Walmart CEO C Douglas McMillon on Tuesday, said Walmart website was selling “offensive shirts and sweatshirts,” and “I urge you to prohibit the use of the Walmart name and website for the retail sale of these products”, The Washington Post reported.
Walmart issued a statement on Tuesday night saying, “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 executive director of the police union in Washington, Jim Pasco said the issue was raised by union members who felt Walmart was selling anti-police items, The Washington Post reported.
“Why not speak out against things that might be seen as fomenting violence, rather than things that commit violence?”, Pasco added. The FOP on Wednesday sent a similar request to Amazon.com.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a fluid, leaderless movement devoted to raising awareness of, and finding solutions for, systemic violence and discrimination the African American community suffers at the hands of various institutions: the police, court system, and more.
BLM has gained a spotlight across America and beyond since the Ferguson riots of 2014, when militarised police armed with weapons from the Iraq war descended on the city in response to public protests against a court exonerating a policeman after he fatally shot an unarmed African American teenager, Mike Brown.
Since then, a rash of new videos filmed by people on their smartphone have been shared across social media, showing American police violence against African Americans.