A Miami, Fl. police union is urging a U.S.-wide boycott by law enforcement labour organizations of Beyoncé’s upcoming world tour, reports CNN.
Beyoncé’s Formation Tour is scheduled to start in the city on Apr. 27. On Thursday, Fox News reported that police in nearby Tampa, Fl. weren’t volunteering to work her Apr. 29 concert (it actually had a grand total of zero volunteers), which is unusual considering off-duty officers who work the shows do so for extra income.
“We’re going to staff it because we have a responsibility to do that regardless of how controversial it might be, who the artist might be, or the politician might be,” Tampa Police Department spokesperson Steve Hegarty said to Fox. “This is a couple of months away, so we’ve still got plenty of time to fill those slots.”
The Miami police union is more transparent with their goal. In a statement, Javier Ortiz, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, accused the singer of using her Super Bowl performance “to divide Americans by promoting the Black Panthers and her anti-police message.”
Beyoncé’s super-charged Super Bowl 50 halftime performance was criticized for allegedly paying homage to the Black Panthers and the black power movement, as well as supporting a tribute to black men killed by cops.
On Thursday, Ortiz wrote that he “was one of the tens of thousands of law enforcement officers that didn’t watch the Super Bowl halftime show out of respect for our profession.”
He claims “on another day while flipping through the television channels, [he] did mistakenly watch her Formation video.”
In one part of the music video, a young African-American boy wearing a hoodie dances in front of police officers wearing riot gear. The words “Stop Shooting Us” appear in graffiti on a wall nearby.
Other American police unions are contemplating joining the proposed Miami boycott.
The New York Police Department’s Sergeants Benevolent Association announced it would back the boycott. Bill Johnson, the executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, said Friday that “We fully support individual officers’ and their unions’ call for the boycott. Why would any group of working men and women support a rich celebrity who openly glorifies murderers? Why would anybody?”
Both the Massachusetts Police Association and the Houston Police Officers’ Union are allowing police officers to decide on their own whether or not to support the boycott.
Since Beyoncé’s halftime performance, law enforcement officials have said there’s rising “anti-police sentiment” in the U.S.
Five police officers have been shot and killed in the country, according to the non-profit site Officer Down Memorial Page, since the event on Feb. 7.
“[Beyoncé’s halftime performance] is inciting bad behaviour,” National Sheriffs’ Association executive director Jonathan Thompson told The Washington Post. “Art is one thing, but yelling fire in a crowded theatre is an entirely different one.”
Last week, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clark Jr. compared the singer’s attire to the white robes of the Ku Klux Klan on the Fox Business Channel:
Even former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani weighed in on the controversy, calling the Super Bowl performance “outrageous” and New York politician Peter King wrote in a Facebook post that it was “just one more example of how acceptable it has become to be anti-police.”Follow @CJancelewicz
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