Yesterday afternoon the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police began to receive a flood of calls into its state office from outraged officers and from equally upset civilians concerning a painting that the city had allowed to be prominently displayed to the public in the atrium on the main floor of Denver’s Municipal Webb Building. Today Colorado FOP published this response:
"We were shocked and outraged to see a painting depicting a police officer, wearing a KKK hood, in front of a Confederate flag pointing a pistol at a child of color who has his hands up. A depiction that is both false in its presentation and message. We know that the "hands up" message has its roots in a well-established lie that originated in Ferguson, Missouri in the aftermath of the Darren Wilson-Michael Brown incident. It is a symbol designed to divide not heal.
"Many of those who called us yesterday afternoon had also called the Mayor’s office to complain and demand the painting be removed from public display in a taxpayer building. They expressed their anger that having this displayed in a taxpayer building sent a message that the city administration supported what this painting symbolized and falsely reflected the feelings of the citizens of this great city. We learned late yesterday afternoon that the painting will be removed. We are waiting for an official confirmation that has happened.
"For some time now the Colorado FOP has been critical of Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and his appointees in the department of safety due to their incompetent, ineffective, short sighted and highly politicized style of bad leadership. The most recent example is this public display in the first floor atrium of the city's municipal office building of a picture that clearly depicts police officers in manner that is not only negative, but portrays them as depraved murderers of children. Only the most incompetent and incapable of government leaders and officials would allow something like this to occur on the premises of the city's main office building where thousands of employees and Denver citizens would see it. Especially given the current climate in Denver and across the country where violence against officers is on the rise as well as an abundance of vitriolic rhetoric that seems to be encouraging this type of violence.
"The law enforcement officers of Denver are not surprised by the city allowing this to happen. Our members, and members of the public, see this as continuation and confirmation of the attitude of the administration towards its public safety officers. They are justifiably outraged that the City would allow this symbol of hate to be put on public display at a time of such serious division in our country. This is the same City administration that stood back and allowed the desecration of the Denver Police memorial last year and again a month ago. The city’s decision to permit this outrageous inflammatory painting is seen as another slap in the face of its police officers, and reinforces their belief that the City Administration is dysfunctional and insensitive at best."