The San Francisco Police Officer's Association is under fire after publishing a photo of two dogs in its newspaper criticizing the Black Lives Matter phrase and movement reported SFGate. The photo shows a black Labrador Retriever with a sign around its neck reading "Black Labs Matter" and a yellow Labrador Retriever with a sign reading "All Labs Matter," a reference to "All Lives Matter," a counter response to "Black Lives Matter."
SFGate reported the photo covered the back page of August's issue of the San Francisco Police Officers Association Journal accompanied by: "Maybe it's time we all just sit back and tone down the rhetoric."
Sgt. Yulanda Williams, president of Officers for Justice, an organization for black officers and other officers of color for San Francisco police said the dog photo "once again shows a severe lack of understanding." Williams said, "It's so inflammatory, and they still don't get it. They still choose to inflame situations, and it’s just really insulting."
"In light of the rising violence against police officers, we hope everyone can start to turn down the volume," he said in the ad reported SFGate. "Anti-police rhetoric has been cited as a contributing factor to the violence against police officers. I think we can all do better and the police will do our part. We will continue with our best efforts to build bridges of communication and understanding between us and the community that we serve."
Black Lives Matter supporters have explained why the phrase "Black Lives Matter" does not negate that other lives matter, as even Barack Obama has said, but is meant to point out the issue black communities are facing. Police killings this year, including Alton Sterling, 558th person to be killed by police in 2016, continue to point out that issue and the relationship between police and communities. Statistics from 2015 showed young black men were nine times more likely to be killed by police.
Supporters have also explained why Black Lives Matter isn't synonymous with being anti-police. Because of recent attacks on police and what people, like Halloran, have perceived as anti-police sentiments, the pro-police movement Blue Lives Matter was created.
SFGate reported the controversial photo comes while the San Francisco Police Department is being questioned as racist following the release of "racist" text messages between department officers.