Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) continues to sell a shirt deemed “offensive” by the Fraternal Order of Police despite objections by the union. The shirt sports the words “Bulletproof: Black Lives Matter” across the chest and is sold by a third-party vendor that supports the Black Lives Matter movement. On Monday morning, the shirt was still listed on the Amazon website, but was “currently unavailable.”
FOP President Chuck Canterbury wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last week saying “I wanted to let you know that my members are very upset that you and Amazon are complicit in the sale of this offensive merchandise.” The letter continued, “I write to urge you to prohibit the use of the Amazon name and website for the retail sale of these products.”
The FOP said it wasn’t opposed to the shirt because it’s pro-Black Lives Matter, but took issue with the word “bulletproof.” Canterbury said that was relevant because of the “amount of violence demonstrated at Black Lives Matter marches and the fact that eight police officers had been assassinated while protecting Black Lives Matter protests.” He was referring to the eight officers shot in separate incidents in Dallas and Baton Rouge last summer.
In Dallas, five officers were shot dead during an anti-violence protest by a lone gunman. In Baton Rouge, three officers were killed in an ambush. However, the gunmen in those shootings were not affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement. Canterbury said he believed that anti-police rhetoric in the name of the protest group “had inspired people of feeble minds to strike out at police officers.”
Walmart recently removed the shirt from its store after Walmart CEO Douglas McMillon received a similar letter from Canterbury. The letter to the CEO read, “I urge you to prohibit the use of the use of the Walmart name and website for the retail sale of these products.” Walmart wasn’t actually selling the “Bulletproof. Black Lives Matter” shirt in its stores. The shirts were being sold through Walmart’s website by Old Glory Merchandise.
Walmart said in a statement, “After hearing concerns from customers, we are removing the specific item with the ‘bulletproof’ reference.” However, it said it would continue to offer third-party merchandise that carried protest and counter-protest slogans such as Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter and All Lives Matter.
Canterbury said that the union would continue to pressure retailers who sell the Black Lives Matter merchandise. According to Canterbury, the protests by the union will continue until the group makes it clear that it doesn’t approve of anti-police violence. The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest police union in the U.S. The union represents over 330,000 members in more than 2,200 chapters.