The president of the Fraternal Order of Police, the largest U.S. police organization, has asked Walmart to stop selling t-shirts and sweatshirts saying “Black Lives Matter” and “Bulletproof” on the store’s website. Walmart said it would remove the shirts which say “Bulletproof,” but not the “Black Lives Matter” shirts, reports the Washington Post. “Black Lives Matter,” the slogan and protest movement that emerged after the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012 and police-involved slayings in 2014, is seen as offensive by many in law enforcement. Breitbart.com said last week that Walmart was “selling Black Lives Matter clothing and other items,” though the merchandise is actually being sold through Walmart’s website by Old Glory Merchandise, a music and entertainment apparel dealer out of Connecticut.
FOP president Chuck Canterbury advised Walmart CEO C. Douglas McMillon that the 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 Walmart site and Old Glory’s site also sell “Blue Lives Matter” shirts. Canterbury said he understood that a third party was selling the merchandise, but “I am concerned that allowing these articles to be sold in this way will damage your company’s good name amongst FOP members and other active and retired law enforcement officers.” Canterbury added, “Commercializing our differences will not help our local police and communities to build greater trust and respect for one another.” FOP director Jim Pasco said the issue was raised by union members who felt Walmart was selling anti-police items. “There are a lot of people who feel too many guns are sold,” he said. “Why not speak out against things that might be seen as fomenting violence, rather than things that commit violence?”