A New York courthouse has become the subject of controversy after including a middle school student’s “Black Lives Matter” drawing in its Black History Month display.
The poster reads: “Stop The Violence. Black Lives Matter. Stop The Racism.”
Former NYPD Officer Ed Munoz, who hosts a talk show on WLNY-AM called “Everything Matters,” has demanded that the Suffolk County Courthouse remove the sign.
“'Black Lives Matter,’ we feel, is anti-police and the rhetoric that they spew is anti-police and we actually have them on video walking the streets of New York City calling for the death of police officers,” he told WCBS-TV. “So for it to be hanging in a courtroom, we find outrageous.”
Court officers have also questioned the controversial slogan’s placement in a court of law. And because active-duty officers are prohibited from voicing their objections, retired cops have raised their own concerns.
“All lives matter,” retired NYPD Detective Glen Klein told WCBS-TV. “Not just black, not just blue, all lives matter.”
Retired NYPD Lt. John Pribetich called the student’s drawing “inappropriate.” “If it affects a juror — the fate of a police officer lies in their hands,” he told WCBS-TV.
Those visiting Suffolk County Courthouse were divided over how to handle the poster.
One man told WCBS-TV he found the drawing to be “highly political and controversial.” But not everyone shared that sentiment.
“I don’t think it’s anti-cop — it’s just awareness of what’s going on in society today,” another man said.
According to Suffolk County’s chief administrative judge, C. Randall Hinrichs, the court requested artwork from a local middle school that highlighted and celebrated different cultures. “It is not the intention of the court to put forth any anti-law enforcement message,” he said. “This is the cultural response of a middle school student, here in Central Islip, to present-day America.”
Hinrichs asserted that the last thing the court wanted to do was offend law enforcement. “It talks about stopping violence and racism, which are admirable sentiments, and I know it’s interpreted by different people, different ways,” he told WCBS. “The last thing we want to do is offend the law enforcement community.”
There court has no plans to take the controversial artwork down, and the poster will stay up for the remainder of the month.