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Santa Clara Police Threaten to Not Do Job Over Cartoon Socks

police-patches

The Santa Clara police union has threatened not to provide security for 49ers games unless the team disciplines backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick for protesting police brutality.

ESPN:

The Santa Clara police union has sent a letter to the San Francisco 49ers, warning that police might stop working the team’s home games due to Colin Kaepernick’s statements on police brutality and his wearing of socks during a practice that showed cartoon pigs dressed as police officers.

The letter, obtained by NBC Bay Area, states that if the 49ers do not discipline Kaepernick, “it could result in police officers choosing not to work at your facilities.”

The letter also states that “the Santa Clara Police Officers’ Association has a duty to protect its members and work to make all of their working environments free of harassing behavior.”

It criticizes what it called anti-police statements made by Kaepernick, calling them “insulting, inaccurate and completely unsupported by any facts.”

The 49ers reiterated Friday night that they stand behind Kaepernick and respect his right not to participate in celebrating the national anthem.

This follows incidents in July when four Minneapolis police officers walked off the job after a similar protest involving the city’s WNBA team and Cleveland police threatened not to work Browns games because a backup running back posted a message critical of cops on his social media page. In the first instance, the team backed down. In the second, the player had already apologized.

In both cases, the officers in question are technically “off duty” and working as private security contractors. In reality, though, they’re operating under the color of authority of their police uniforms and leveraging that power to threaten the safety of citizens exercising their First Amendment rights in an extremely peaceful manner. The notion that Colin Kaepernick’s cartoon socks constitute some sort of “harassment,” much less something that requires “protection” is laughable.

Frankly, I’d prefer that police officers not be allowed to moonlight as security personnel—especially in uniform. It gives the impression that some businesses and activities are being accorded special favor by law enforcement and creates all manner of obvious conflicts of interest. But, once they’ve accepted that responsibility, they lose the right to walk off in protest.

We’ve allowed police to create a dangerous climate, wherein even obviously unlawful actions by members of the guild are to be above questioning. Already, juries are extremely loath to convict officers for even egregious over-use of force under the premise that police are a “thin blue line” that save us from mayhem. They’re permitted to search citizens at a whim and allowed to use tactics appropriate for a combat zone in peaceful suburbs on the pretense that their lives are constantly in peril and that it’s better that a hundred civilians (and a thousand of their pets) die than one heroic officer. Now, apparently, they’re also above any criticism.

 

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Pch101 says:

    It gives the impression that some businesses and activities are being accorded special favor by law enforcement and creates all manner of obvious conflicts of interest.

    “Gives the impression”? I’ve dealt with this firsthand, and it’s more than just an impression.

    In effect, there are times that you have to bribe the cops if you wish to protect your business. It’s not illegal, of course, because you’re hiring one of their private security companies and getting their services after hours. But the alternative is to not receive adequate protection from the police department, so you have little choice but to pay them.

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  2. gVOR08 says:

    I keep forgetting that a big, burly cop with a gun and a club is such a delicate flower.

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  3. dennis says:

    Police officers work those gigs because the pay is good. Let the leagues hire their own security, and eliminate the whole issue.

    As a law enforcement officer for 22 years this month, I’ve taken my share of criticism; individually, as well as collectively with my agency. Some of it is legitimate, some is misinformed. But I patrolled day and night for their right to have and voice their opinion, and to penalize someone for exercising his or her voice is clearly not in holding with the highest ideals of the nation.

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  4. JKB says:

    But, once they’ve accepted that responsibility, they lose the right to walk off in protest.

    So now you are for throwing out the 13th amendment?

    Facetious, I know, but courts don’t force people to do work even if failure to perform is a breach of contract. Damages may be due, but to force someone to work for another when they have chosen not to has been considered to close slavery. True, the damages due from the breach may cause some to do the work, but the courts do not order performance but will decide damages.

    The 49ers can simply pay the city the cost of providing the additional on-duty officers necessary for such a gathering. This cost will, of course, be higher as it will be overtime, benefits, retirement contributions, etc., for the working officers. The department will then have sufficient officers on-duty to handle any police matters at the stadium. The team would still need to provide dedicated security for safety and crowd management. In addition, any private security incidents would subject the team/stadium to potential liability where off-duty police officers might be considered acting within their police power and an liability going to the department/city insurance/funds.

    A team should cancel games due to these threats and see how fans react to this union tactic.

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  5. Jenos Idanian says:

    The NFL has taken a clear stand. The Dallas Cowboys were forbidden from putting decals on their helmets honoring the five officers murdered; this dip is allowed to wear socks insulting cops. So players are allowed to be anti-cop, but not pro-cop.

    These gigs are entirely voluntary for the officers involved. If they choose to not volunteer, and forfeit the extra pay, that’s their right. And the NFL gets to fully enjoy the benefits of their policies.

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  6. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    The Dallas Cowboys were forbidden from putting decals on their helmets honoring the five officers murdered; this dip is allowed to wear socks insulting cops.

    Hey, you can regurgitate a police union press release. Impressive.

    Kaepernick wore the controversial socks in training camp. The Cowboys players were allowed to have the decals on their helmets during training camp, and practices. So the freedom of expression was equal, there was no double standard, no preference for one point of view. Are you keeping up? Should I use smaller words?

    What the Cowboy players were not allowed to do is wear the decals doing pre-season and regular season games (which are televised). NFL football games are a product. An extremely valuable product. Perhaps sponsors who spend millions of dollars to be involved in these telecasts and have advertising in the staduim wish to avoid controversy. Can’t say as I blame them.

    I do some work with major league franchises, and some of it involves branding issues and league/team control over how the sport, the league, and the team are presented to the public. They maintain strict control over that presentation – for good reasons.

    You got one thing right. The NFL has taken a stand. Players can make political statements with their attire during camp and practice. They can’t during games. Perfectly fair, and perfectly reasonable.

    But now the PC right wants to dictate how the NFL runs its business.

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  7. anjin-san says:

    A bit more on this nonsense. The league is simply enforcing existing rules. No new ground has been broken, no preference shown:

    on game days, items “to celebrate anniversaries or memorable events, or to honor or commemorate individuals, such as helmet decals, and arm bands and jersey patches on players’ uniforms, are prohibited unless approved in advance by the League office.”

    “All such items approved by the League office, if any, must relate to team or League events or personages,” the rule says. “The League will not grant permission for any club or player to wear, display, or otherwise convey messages, through helmet decals, arm bands, jersey patches, or other items affixed to game uniforms or equipment, which relate to political activities or causes, other non-football events, causes or campaigns, or charitable causes or campaigns. Further, any such approved items must be modest in size, tasteful, non-commercial, and non-controversial;

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  8. michael reynolds says:

    @dennis:

    Yeah, I think we’re conflating two different matters. The cops doing the work have a perfect right to choose not to work there. In the long-distant past I hired off-duty cops and had they not liked what I was doing (basically serving pancakes) they’d have had a right to say, “We quit.”

    The police unions, on the other hand, are behaving like immature children. Don’t tell me we’ve got a problem with wimpy college kids needing ‘safe spaces’ and then claim cops can’t stand seeing pig socks. Jesus, even Brown University Undergrads are less touchy than the SFPD’s union.

    I want to throw another log on this fire: I think a lot of blame goes to writers, especially TV and movie writers, who have turned ‘cop breaks the rules for justice’ into such an overused trope that people forget that the only legitimacy a police officer has derives from their defense of the law. If they are not defending our system of laws they are vigilantes not police officers. It’s a lazy plot device that has conditioned the public to believe in the rule of the gun over the rule of law.

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  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    Frankly, I’d prefer that police officers not be allowed to moonlight as security personnel—especially in uniform.

    Also the PD and city typically assume responsibility for moonlighting LEO’s. Lived in Minneapolis in the 70’s,80’s & 90’s, it seemed that every couple years an officer working one of these details would wail the snot out of some miscreant, who inevitably sued the city/PD for police brutality and usually settled for a cool $200K or so. Often the officers involved were repeat offenders who were protected by civil service from losing their jobs. At that time, the booking of these moonlight details was the private biz of an officer so the city saw none of the revenue for arranging gig only the bill when things get ugly.

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  10. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It’s a lazy plot device that has conditioned the public to believe in the rule of the gun over the rule of law.

    James Ellroy says, “Who you calling lazy?”

    @Jenos Idanian:

    So players are allowed to be anti-cop, but not pro-cop.

    Kap may not be a player for long. Does he really look like he wants to play football anymore?

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  11. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Awful nice stadium you have here. It sure would be a shame if anything were to happen to it.

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  12. bill says:

    so are you guys all for kaep and his lame “protest”? even though he said hillary should be in jail…..

    i think he’s just a dumb jock who didn’t learn jackshit in college and all the sudden he’s immersed himself in stuff that happened decades ago but maybe wasn’t taught in his school….
    kinda like obama, but obama went on to higher learning.
    both were raised by white folks and had a nice upbringing for the most part- so is it just “guilt” now?

    oh, and blm is a racist crop of cop haters so …..you know.

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  13. An Interested Party says:

    oh, and blm is a racist crop of cop haters so …..you know.

    Yes, I’m sure that back in the day, people like you made similar comments about Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement…

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  14. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The unions (and moreso, “law and order” conservatives) have become so used to absolute deference from politicians, that even the mildest criticisms are branded as extreme. For the last few years, conservatives have been telling me that Obama extreme anti-cop rhetoric is causing a war on cops. Every time it comes up, I ask them to give me specific examples of his extreme anti-cop rhetoric. I get: 1) he expressed sympathy for Trayvon Martin (who was not shot by a cop); 2) he said the police officer in the Henry Louis Gates incident acted “stupidly”. This wouldn’t be even five minutes of what they routinely say about Obama and/or Clinton or the ATF.

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  15. michael reynolds says:

    @bill:

    No, BLM is not a bunch of cop haters.

    1) The victims of black criminals are overwhelmingly black people.

    2) It may surprise you to learn that black people do not wish to be robbed or beat up or shot by criminals of any color.

    3) So obviously the overwhelming majority of black people wish they had good, reliable police to protect them from bad guys.

    4) Which is why racist cops are such a problem, and contribute to crime by alienating the very population they are meant to serve. If black people see the cops as criminals they have nowhere to turn.

    5) As is almost always the case, what you see as a black problem or failing is in reality a white failing. Racist cops not only fail the black community, they fail their fellow cops, making the entire force less effective, and more at risk.

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  16. Jenos Idanian says:

    I’m astonished that they’d even want police at games. Considering how many of the players are young black men, it’s a miracle that some rogue racist cop hasn’t shot a player mid-game so far.

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  17. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Let’s be totally real. For people like Jenos and bill, there has *never* been an acceptable way for black people to protest, and there never, ever will be.

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  18. Franklin says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Oh, the police are smart enough to not do that when the athletes in question are actually playing. But ask Thabo Sefolosha what happens when you’re just walking around town.

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  19. Davebo says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    For people like Jenos and bill, there has *never* been an acceptable way for black people to protest

    Not true, Jenos is all good with self immolation protests.

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  20. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: Let’s be totally real. For people like Jenos and bill, there has *never* been an acceptable way for black people to protest, and there never, ever will be.

    Oh, blow it out your ass, you lazy hack.

    When the protests don’t involve violence and threats, that’s fine. And this dip has every right to wear his emblems of hate all he wants. It’s the NFL that has rules over such things, not the government, and if they choose to permit it, that’s fine. And if they don’t, that’s fine, too.

    And if the cops choose to not work events featuring him and his emblems of hate, that’s their right, too. As I said, if the cops are so bad, why would the NFL want to enrich them with these details?

    Here’s an idea. Why not hire people from Black Lives Matter to provide security? Hell, I’d wager a bunch of them could even provide their own guns.

    @Davebo: The ass-blowing invitation is extended to you as well.

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  21. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    It’s the NFL that has rules over such things, not the government, and if they choose to permit it, that’s fine. And if they don’t, that’s fine, too

    So why were you crying upthread? He did not break any NFL rules.

    Moron.

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  22. Gustopher says:

    @bill:

    i think he’s just a dumb jock who didn’t learn jackshit in college and all the sudden he’s immersed himself in stuff that happened decades ago but maybe wasn’t taught in his school….

    Like capital letters?

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  23. Gustopher says:

    Frankly, I’d prefer that police officers not be allowed to moonlight as security personnel—especially in uniform. It gives the impression that some businesses and activities are being accorded special favor by law enforcement and creates all manner of obvious conflicts of interest. But, once they’ve accepted that responsibility, they lose the right to walk off in protest.

    I’m not sure that I would go so far as that last sentence. They have a perfect right to not work, and to be as pissy as they want to be about it.

    I do think that wearing their uniforms while moonlighting is a severe conflict of interest though. A cop is either on the job, representing the people and the government that sanction them, or they are off duty, representing themselves or their other employers. They shouldn’t be blurring the lines.

    Would we allow police, off-duty but in uniform, to be paid signature gatherers for some initiative? I would like to think that most people would recognize that as a bad idea. So, why do we allow them to be in uniform for any other employer, representing that employer’s interests rather than the public?

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  24. anjin-san says:

    @Gustopher:

    A cop is either on the job, representing the people and the government that sanction them, or they are off duty, representing themselves or their other employers. They shouldn’t be blurring the lines

    That’s a good point, I was surprised to find out that cops working games are moonlighting. I had always assumed that they were detailed by the city to work games and that the team paid the city directly.

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  25. anjin-san says:

    @Franklin:

    But ask Thabo Sefolosha what happens when you’re just walking around town.

    Or James Blake.

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  26. bill says:

    @michael reynolds: duh, so why aren’t these posers protesting where the action is? trying to lay blame on cops is pathetic, but a good meme for the double digit iq crowd. and we all know why they won’t protest where most blacks are dying right?
    1) they’re afraid
    2) they’re even lamer white friends would never go to a “real” black neighborhood.
    3) the media wouldn’t follow them either- and really, that’s all they have.

    so blm spreads hate and get’s a pass from the guilt ridden dolts who never learned history…and we get a regurgitated 70’s era “protest” that makes kids feel like they’re parents or something even gayer.

    @An Interested Party: no, i was a kid who supported equality- and actually promoted it in my ‘hood. still do-nice try though.

    @Gustopher: nah, only for special things.

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  27. michael reynolds says:

    @bill:

    Because you can’t call the cops when you think they might shoot your children out of incompetence or racism you imbecile. How hard is that for you to understand?

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  28. Keith says:

    The most interesting subplot, for me, is that we are already seeing this sort of protest grow. One teammate of Kaepernick’s took a knee with him and one Seattle player sat down during the anthem. Imagine if 30 players per squad declined to stand? The NFL has done everything it can to cozy up with the military and the cops, and it goes out of its way to be the most “American” it possibly can be. What does the NFL do if this protest spreads more widely? It’s pretty obvious that African Americans make up the majority of the players and whites make up the majority of the coaching staffs, management, administration and league officials. The real and deep divisions between labor and management and the players and the corporate line will be highlighted if this continues.

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  29. An Interested Party says:

    no, i was a kid who supported equality- and actually promoted it in my ‘hood. still do-nice try though.

    I didn’t point out you, but rather, people like you, idiot…

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  30. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Keith: Easy……they’ll do nothing. The NFL is not the power player for local and state regulation that govern police behaviors. In other words….they can not grant nor deny what the “protestors” are demanding.

    When MLK decided to do something about the Montgomery City Transit racist policies….he didn’t go do a costless protest for TV cameras to bring “awareness”. He found a way to affect the pocketbook of the Transit Authority and apply political pressure to local and state government officials to force them to react.

    So while millionaire football players kneel and sit for the national anthem (which is ironic since the Federal Gov’t has been a willing ally in the fight for equality for the past 40+ years)–the local and state officials that can force a change in policy are going about business as usual. Its good to see young people socially motivated but their zeal is misdirected and therefore–impotent.

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  31. DrDaveT says:

    @bill:

    so blm spreads hate

    Because objecting to the systematic murder of young black men is clearly ‘hate’.

    Double plus ungood, bill.

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  32. al-Ameda says:

    You would think the Police Officer Associations would be above issuing proclamations like one such as the SCPOA did. They want to send a message to the 49er organization re: Kaepernick, and if they do follow-through on their threat they will punish the public that attends the games and residents of Santa Clara who live near the stadium.

    In a related matter: The San Francisco POA recently strongly criticized Kaepernick for his actions, all the while they – the SFPD – are under quite a few clouds because of a few controversial shootings that have the attention of many residents, including Black Lives Matter.

    Personally, I think POA’s are ill advised to wade into the political thickets on issues like this. Their job is difficult enough as it is, without potentially alienating many of the people that they serve.

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  33. Musson says:

    @Pch101: It is not their job! Police man these stadiums as part-time after hours work. They signup and are paid by the hour by the Venue and NOT by the local city. So, they don’t have to sign up for these moonlighting positions if they don’t want to.

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