Illinois Chiefs ask Amazon to stop selling offensive shirt
and to make donation to NAACP Illinois State Conference

This was sent via email June 22, 2020, to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos:

Subject: Your ugly anti-police product - please remove and support NAACP in Illinois

Dear Mr. Bezos:

On behalf of our 1,200 members from municipal and university and railroad police departments and their supporters in every part of Illinois, I want to let you know how disgusted we are about the sale of the shirts and facemasks that say “Blue Lives Murder.” For Amazon to include those shirts for sale feels like cheap, adolescent piling on to the abuse already being heaped at thousands of noble women and men who wear the badge. They continue to take their shifts day after day so that your many employees get to and from work safely and not think too much about their safety while they are at work, except for appropriate workplace safety measures. I would bet a year’s Prime membership that nearly all of them [your employees], while going about their daily routines at home, would immediately think “Call 911” or “Call the police” if a crisis erupted at work or at their homes, and they would feel better the moment the police arrived.

So “Blue Lives Murder”? It would be easy and convenient for you to respond that this is not your product or that you respect free speech too much not to sell those shirts. The police understand freedom of expression as well as anyone. They are on duty by the dozens or hundreds for every community parade and most demonstrations and any kind of event where people gather in large numbers, making sure that peaceful participants don’t get hurt while enjoying their First Amendment right. What you and many others probably don’t know is how often they quietly remove, after a citizen complaint, the few who get too rowdy or violent or drunk and thus preserve your safety.

Wasn’t there a police presence yesterday for the positive announcement about Amazon expanding in Markham and Matteson, Illinois, with high-level officials such as Governor JB Pritzker and Congresswoman Robin Kelly, among many others, in attendance? I’m guessing your Amazon executive and those public officials all felt proud and safe, as they should have, during that announcement.

So “Blue Lives Murder”? It would be so easy for you to say, “We won’t sell that. It’s going too far.” Please do so.

We find that it’s easier for people to jump on the bandwagon of criticism at times like this rather than engage in productive behavior that will move the country along to the kind of diversity and inclusion that Amazon proclaims to value.

While others are hurling bricks and urine at our sisters and brothers, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police has been building trust one conversation at a time for four years in partnership with the NAACP Illinois State Conference. We have mutually adopted Ten Shared Principles and stand side by side with their leaders as we promote respect for human life, de-escalation, and community policing.

I am asking you for two things: (1) immediately stop selling those offensive shirts and related products, such as the facemask, and (2) make a donation directly to the NAACP Illinois State Conference to help them in their noble effort to build trust with law enforcement throughout Illinois.

Thanks for your consideration. Ed

Ed Wojcicki
Executive Director
Illinois Assn of Chiefs of Police (ILACP)
426 S. 5th St.
Springfield, IL 62701

217.523.3765 office