The Vancouver Police Department Store provided more details Friday about why it removed several shirts criticized as being offensive from its online store earlier this week.
The store, which operates a physical location inside the VPD’s headquarters on Gravely Street, removed a shirt referring to cops as the “world’s largest street gang” on June 4 after several social media users questioned it.
Other shirts removed referred to handcuffs being “one size fits all” or said “it’s all fun & games until the cops show up.”
In a tweet June 5, the store said it heard the negative feedback and removed the shirts from their stock.
“The t-shirts are not VPD branded items and were ordered online from a third party provider several years ago,” it said.
We have heard your feedback about specific t-shirts in the PMBA store and have removed those items from our stock.
The t-shirts are not VPD branded items and were ordered online from a third party provider several years ago.
— VPD Store (@vpdstore) June 5, 2020
Several people found the shirts’ messages about how police have the power to control citizens unacceptable, especially at time when protests over police brutality following the death of George Floyd continue around the world.
“That doesn’t make me feel safe to be around police officers. That doesn’t make me feel safe to report a crime,”
Vancouver resident Andrew Ferguson told Daily Hive in a June 5 interview.
VPD spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin declined to comment for this story, instead referring Daily Hive to the Police Mutual Benevolent Association which operates the store. The PMBA does not appear to have a website or social media presence, although a VPD Facebook post from 2012 indicates the organization provides benefits to members and their families during difficult times.