A local police union in Virginia was up in arms because of a Black Lives Matter sign posted in the window of a residence, WUSA reports.
The Fairfax Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 77 called for the boycott of Cox Farms because they mistakenly believed the family business had posted the sign. The sign was in fact posted in the window of a home near the property which is the residence of one of the business owners’ family members.
The Fairfax FOP called the sign “disturbing and disappointing” in a Facebook post, which they later deleted due to outcry.
“This is a time in which law enforcement is the target for criticism for almost everything they do and officers are constantly questioned by the public and the media without the benefit of all the facts,” the post read. “The presence of this sign at Cox’s Farms helps perpetuate this kind of behavior and judgment. I know you have heard it about a million times but the truth is that ‘All Lives Matter.'”
The post said Cox Farms is a local family attraction for things like picking out pumpkins and taking tractor rides. The FOP urged the boycott of the farm, saying the sign was inflammatory and targeted police with “baseless criticism.”
Gina Cox, who owns Cox Farms, said her daughter has the right to post any sign she wants in her home.
“It’s her private property and she can put up any political sign she wants to in her yard,” she told WUSA. “We treasure our relationship with our local police force, it’s not anything against them at all.”
The FOP was accused of bullying the business by anti-police brutality activists.
“The Facebook post they made, which was removed because of the unprecedented public outrage towards their attempt to bully a local landmark and beloved destination, further reinforces the lack of trust in the Fairfax County Police Department,” Mike Curtis, with the organization CopBlock, told the station.
Brad Carruthers, FOP president, said he took the post down because it was the “wiser course of action.”
“The phrase ‘black lives matter,’ which was initially associated with the positive intentions of creating better connections within communities and encouraging education and dialogue on issues of race, has unfortunately also been used more recently to incite violence against law enforcement officers, which is why it has negative connotations for us,” Caruthers wrote. “My hope is that the situation will improve and we will forge better bonds and a better partnership within our communities.”
A Black Lives Matter activist said saying the phrase has been co-opted is just propaganda.
“It’s not an attack on individual officers; it’s a movement to highlight the structural oppression Black people face in this country,” BLM activist Erika Totten said to WUSA. “When Black men, women and children are dying in the street at the hands of a law enforcement officer every 28 hours, when most of the people incarcerated are there for non violent crimes, when a Black boy can be assaulted for using the ATM and for making gentrifies uncomfortable, how can we not begin the conversation on how to eradicate racial bias in our criminal justice system.”
In the end, Caruthers admitted that black lives matter.
“We do believe in Black Lives Matter,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, and I know it’s a cliché of all lives matter, but we want to work with the communities to strengthen community trust.”