Wal-Mart has pulled t-shirts and hoodies that bear the words "Bulletproof: Black Lives Matter" from its website following complaints from the national Fraternal Order of Police.
Chuck Canterbury, president of the police advocacy group, wrote a letter to Wal-Mart CEO C. Douglas McMillon on Dec. 20 that said the retail giant was allowing "offensive shirts and sweatshirts" to be sold by a third party, Old Glory, on the Wal-Mart website, reports The Washington Post.
In addition to noting his offense to the products, Canterbury called on Wal-Mart to not allow people to buy the items:
I urge you to prohibit the use of the Walmart name and website for the retail sale of these products ... 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 ... Commercializing our differences will not help our local police and communities to build greater trust and respect for one another.
Wall-Mart quickly capitulated to the advocacy group that night:
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.
James Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, said: "The bulletproof thing goes to the new assertiveness of some violence prone individuals to take action directly against police. We find it offensive for that reason," notes CNN Money.
Glenn Morelli, the owner of Old Glory, had no problem pulling his product based on the opinion of the police group:
It wasn't a big seller at all. The Blue Lives Matter sells more than the Black Lives Matter or bulletproof shirts combined. We don't like to offend anybody. When you sell that many [shirts], you have to sell all different kinds of shirts. It's hard to make everybody happy.
The Counted, an online project of The Guardian, notes that U.S. police have killed 1039 Americans this year, as of Dec. 21.