LB Police Officers Support Nike Boycott

Stephen Downing

On Sept. 4, Michael McHale, president of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) published an open letter to Nike’s chairman, president and CEO to “condemn in the strongest possible terms” his selection of Colin Kaepernick for Nike’s “Just Do It” ad campaign. McHale concluded his strident letter by announcing that the 241,000-member NAPO is “calling on all our member officers, their families and friends to join in boycotting all Nike products.”

One day later, Sept. 5, the National Black Police Association (NBPA) responded in an open letter to Nike’s CEO. Their letter not only condemned the calls from traditionally white police organizations to boycott Nike, but also congratulated the company on its new campaign featuring Kaepernick.

In her letter, NBPA’s president, Sonia Pruitt, said that “the NBPA believes that Mr. Kaepernick’s stance is in direct alignment with what law enforcement stands for – the protection of a people, their human rights, their dignity, their safety and their rights as American citizens.”

On that same day, the conflict between the two national police organizations – one with a predominately White membership, the other being mostly Black, found its way to Long Beach and its police department when the Long Beach Police Officers Association (LBPOA) took up the NAPO banner and posted a meme on their Facebook page urging Long Beach police officers to boycott Nike products.

The meme featured a photo of uniformed police officers carrying a flag draped casket with the caption, “A police officer knows exactly what it means to believe in something even if it costs you everything: Buy Nike? Just Don’t Do It.”

The LBPOA Facebook post was brought to the Beachcomber’s attention by two former Long Beach Police officers on Sept. 11 at 3 a.m. By that time the POA’s posting had garnered 209 “likes” and 104 shares.

A former LBPD officer, Jackie Burke, of Long Beach, said, “As a former officer I recognized the power I had to be a part of taking or saving a life both in the field and in the court room.” Following a deep pause she continued, “For a police organization to endorse such a stand speaks volumes about how little they care about the lives of minorities in the community and certainly how they feel about minorities in the department.”

Quincy Miles, a six-year LBPD veteran who once sued the LBPD for racial discrimination wrote, ”We can’t pretend like everyone has the same American experiences. Just like those who stand for the national anthem and flag because they’re proud Americans and they love this country, there are those who feel the need to kneel to bring awareness to the injustices and inequalities in this country that they also love. The freedom to do either is supposed to be the “American way.”

Quincy went on to point to his own experiences with the LBPD, commenting, “Racism exists in the DNA of law enforcement and we have to stop pretending like it doesn’t if there is any chance to change it,” he said. “For those that disagree, I can provide a list of officers who have filed complaints based on racial discrimination or racism issues who have lost everything, including myself.”

Because of the raw emotions brought to the Beachcomber by these officers, city officials, current and former community members the leadership of the LBPOA and leadership from other nationwide law enforcement organizations were asked to view the meme and comment on this divisive issue.

“The old saying can’t see the forest for the trees seems to fit,” said Patrick Kennedy, executive director of the Greater Long Beach Interfaith Community. When interviewed on the phone Kennedy could almost be seen shaking his head when he said, “If the LBPOA is serving the whole community, they need to take a broader view on the pain felt by other parts of our community.”

And then came comment from Lisa Jones, “I’m white, and to me the implication is obvious: a police officer who is killed in the line of duty is presumed to be principled, honorable, and self-sacrificing, but a person who is killed by a police officer – or who speaks out against police shootings – is presumed to be exactly the opposite.”

Jones, a former Long Beach resident and four-year critic of the LBPD for what she describes as an incompetent investigation into her sister’s death concluded, “The purpose of this photo and caption is to promote a biased and misleading set of presumptions. In other words, it’s propaganda.”

Neill Franklin, a retired Maryland State Police major and executive director of the National criminal justice reform organization, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, observed that, “You can clearly tell by looking at this picture, a police officer’s casket draped in our country’s great flag that this blue life matters.”

“You can also tell by the comment below the picture that the Long Beach POA has chosen not to educate themselves regarding police excessive use of force disparities which is the foundation and backdrop for protests, such as the one initiated by Colin Kaepernick on the football field.”

Franklin added, “Did we not take an oath to protect the Constitutional rights of our citizens? We, the cops, have the power to change this dynamic. I know that many want to, but it’s also evident that many do not.”

Chief Robert Luna was asked for comment. Instead his media relations spokesperson replied, “The Long Beach Police Association is a labor organization that operates independently from the Long Beach Police Department to represent and advocate for their membership.”

The Beachcomber solicited comment from the LBPOA president Jim Foster as well as city officials including Mayor Robert Garcia, Councilmembers Suzie Price, Dee Andrews, Al Austin and Rex Richardson. No response was received prior to publication.

In addition to the print edition, this article will also be published on the Beachcomber website and updated as more – if any – responses are received. Comments to the article can also be made in a letter to the editor or posted on the Beachcomber web site.



Judging from how the profit share of Nike jumped in the aftermath of the Kaepernick commercials, it appears that solid support exists in the general population for his stance. It’ll be interesting to see how the Long Beach POA leadership and their membership will react when the Long Beach communities who support the movement rejects the next pay raise for the police department due to this despicable action. But then again, isn’t this how police unions behave?

Long Beach cops have no sense of style and most are broke. Don't worry Nike, I don't think you'll feel the impact from the LBPOA organization and Officers.

Still bitter from getting fired? Quit clowning.. unless it's your new gig of course.

Wow what a surprise! But then again after seeing the photo I understand now why in 1994 the LBPOA president asked me why there was a need for a Black Police employee organization, and the LBPOA president in 2014 told me the POA could do more for Black officers and he was very apologetic and ashamed for not being more receptive and active regarding there complaints and concerns. This article and stance clarifies their position and why African American officers have higher discipline rates then non- African American officers as well as equal representation in those I.A cases.

Must be nice to assume everything, from one statement. My turn: I bet your fellow non-Black Officers always wondered what side you were on, while attending different meetings...

So were African American officers disciplined at a higher rate when Batts was chief?

Freedom of Speech, do not take it lightly, defend it or you may end up losing it. Fane Lozman of Florida, Colin Kaepernick, NFL player, and many of our fallen fighters in WWI, WWII, Americans that volunteered to fight against Fascist Franco in Spain as members for Abraham Lincoln Brigade, Martin Luther King Jr. all understood. Members of our military understand that they defend the Constitution of the United States. The First Amendment enshrines our Freedom of Speech it guarantees Americans the right to express themselves without having to worry about politicians or governments. It is the most basic building block of our ability of freely express ourselves.

Agreed. That's why this Police Officers' LABOR Association can take this stand too. They aren't City entities. Thanks for the history lesson though.

WOW!! I cant believe that a police organization would even take a side. Did its leadership forget that they are suppose to represent all of LB (or maybe they just don't care). I served in the Marines Corps and yes in COMBAT, and I was also was a police officer. I fought for for ALL AMERICANS to protest the way they want, I am not the least bit offended that this man took a knee in order to bring attention to a cause he believed in, thats why I served !! 90% of you cops didn't even have the courage to join the military and if you did you pushed paper, and you think that because of your job (driving around in a car) your more patriotic then the rest of us!!!! you don't have the right to make such a comment, especially when my tax dollars are paying your cowards salary. The side that the police union took is a clear representation of its police management and its officers who pay into it...the LB minority community is looked down upon by theses cops. The response that the CHIFES OFFICE gave was as ignorant and stupid as the LBPD Chief, the the union is made up of only police officer form your department, no one else, How in the hell are they “The Long Beach Police Association is a labor organization that operates independently from the Long Beach Police Department to represent and advocate for their membership.” The membership is the DAM department!!!! the chief and its staff must think LB citizen are retarded ... Mayor Garcia if you don"t get rid of this embarrassment of a chief and his retarded staff, then you better step down your self. WOW SMH LBPD you should be embarrassed of your command staff and you union rep"s good use of your union dues. LOL HAHAHA JOKERS

Mr. Downing, seeking comment from disgruntled and former officers really discredits this article. Allow me to shed some truth to this article, something neither of the former officers commenting know about.

They were both fired for lying and stealing from the tax payers of Long Beach. They, like many other non-black officers who have lied, we’re investigated and terminated because of it. You’ve asked for transparency and when investigators find deception you cry racism. Typical main stream media.

As for former officer Burke risking her life on the streets. Let me remind you of you’re short time spend in patrol before manipulating you’re way into a desk job with no experience whatsoever. Also, let’s no forget about the time you tried to use your police credentials for preferential treatment.

Former officer Miles, you are a lie and cheat. Race had nothing to do with you being terminated. You could NOT even convince a jury that you were discriminated.

The LBPOA boycotting Nike had nothing to do with race. The race bating media and race pimps have made it about race. I openly won’t support Nike for the mere FACT that they support a self loathing individual who openly supports an organization that thrives on killing LEO.

Normally I don't address cowards since you aren't bold enough to put your name and clearly you're one of those people that hides behind a badge. Since lying is such an issue in the Long Beach Police Department, why is Don Wood, who was to proven to have lied under oath during my trial, still there? But whoever you are, we can set up a live Facebook discussion on my case with all the transcripts and the evidence in the case, including information that Judge Feuer (wife of LA City prosecutor, Mike Feuer) wouldn't allow. Evidence that showed clear discrimination but was not allowed to be shown to the jury. There's a reason why the judge was protecting McDonnell and Long Beach was protecting Wood, Richens, and Blair. And also intimidating and opening IA investigations on witnesses in my case. These are all facts. So unless you are willing to discuss the actual facts of the case with me, you can shut up. And finally, I have a statistic you can look up. In the past 10 years, find out how many people went to the city EEO, filed a complaint, got an IA case on them and are still there? Also while you're at it, look up how many of these officers were supported by the POA. I was told specifically by Steve James that filing a racial complaint was committing career suicide. So don't speak on things that you have no clue about.

Facebook live discussion ain’t worth my time. Quit riding Downing’s curtail, we all know no one believes his conspiracies and witch hunts. You had your chance before a judge and jury and couldn’t even convince them. I’m curious to know, how many of these so-called officer actually went to EEO prior to having had IA cases opened against them for misconduct? How long were they officers before they decided to speak up? Does that make them accomplices or victims. I would run to EEO also and cry discrimination if I knew my career was on the line. And once all else fails, file suit for discrimination.

Coward. Let me educate you. The issue is people confide in the POA when they have issues, not knowing the POA is not on their side, so the department already has a heads up on your possible complaint, that's when the paper trial of character assassination begins. That's the conflict of having supervisors in the same union as officers. I didn't know when I went to POA President Steve James about my concerns and spoke to other union members that James and Wood were friends to the point that James’ wife was in Wood's wedding or my POA Attorney Jim Trott played golf with him as well. I know several other officers that continued to make those mistakes. Their were several obvious Police Bill Rights violations in my case that the POA just sat back and let occur. But of course that's something else the judge wouldn't allow the jury to hear. Ok you don't like Facebook live, how about we go to one of the black churches y'all pretend to like when it's convenient, you bring my red book and any evidence you have against me and I'll bring what I have against the department, and lets have an open discussion about my case and how LBPD treats black officers in a townhouse setting, including accepting questions from the audience. You’re being big and bad behind that keyboard so put up or shut up.

And I don't have to ride Downing’s coat tails. Downing has seen all the evidence and knows the truth, therefore when he's need something like a quote etc, I'm always available for a word from someone with true integrity who has worn the badge.

So tell us all what you were actually fired for. Spare us the racial BS.

Hey Coward!!! If my IA case were independent of my EEO complaint and had nothing to do with it, why did my IA investigator Don Wood interrogate me about what information I gave in my EEO complaint? He threatened to charge me with insubordination if I didn't give him names and information. I have the audio if you're willing to meet face to face.

Well said, Mcgruff! Thank you for standing-up to this tabloid and its rumors. Poor victim Quincy is sadder now...


Colin K. has every right to kneel. He can kneel to protest whatever he belives in. THAT IS THE FREEDOM AFFORDED HIM BY OUR CONSTITUTION. Our country was sold out to the elites but there are still good people and true patriots that will fight for justice and the true AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE. WE NEED TO ORGANIZE AND UNITE TO FIGHT FOR OUR CITY, State and COUNTRY.

They keep us divided and distract to continue their manipulation and destruction of American. WE MUST ORGANIZE AND UNITE!

My story: I served in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom (2009-2010). I came home to Long Beach early January 2013. Because I speak up against corruption within our community and government I HAVE BEEN LABELED A DOMESTIC TERRORIST BY OUR GOVERNMENT ( both local and national )

I am a TARGETED INDIVIDUAL. Their goal and strategy is to destroy every facet of my life including;

1. Mental fitness
2. Physical fitness
3. Financial fitness
4. relationships
5. business
6. academics

I write this comment to help illustrate that CORRUPTION EXIST IN OUR CITY OF LONG BEACH, our county of Los Angeles, our state and our beloved country The UNITED STATES OF AMERICAN. The corrupt politicians and elites do not care for certain people. THEY FEAR THAT WE WILL UNITE AND HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR CRIMES. I appreciate you and your work! Thank you for fighting for the people.

Stay strong! You are not alone! TRUE PATRIOTS ARE WITH YOU. ( and some of us are trained in the arts of war )

So we are seeing yet another situation in which we are pushing ourselves further away from each other, this time by two different police officers associations.  And it comes down to: “Are you in favor of the police?”  Or “Are you in favor of Liberty and the victims of some incidents involving the police?”  I hope I speak for the vast majority of people in our country when I say I am in favor of both. 

For heaven’s sake!  Of course we need an educated, trained, competent and brave police force to protect and serve us.  These officers can quickly face an unknown and potentially dangerous situation in which either they or we can be severely injured or even killed.  And in that regard we also must understand that sometimes even serious mistakes will be made.  But we also must understand that if the police have a badge and a gun, and that we as members of the community are held to obey their orders, they simply must be well trained and must keep our laws and our best interests strongly in mind.  In other words, all of us have a right to believe that all police officers will always try to do the right thing for the right reason – every time!  And they should/must be held accountable on those (few) occasions in which they lose control and fall below that standard of care.

So let’s please try to stop so much of this “me the good guy vs. you the bad guy” stuff.  We should all be on the same side of both of these issues!  So I chastise both associations for not saying so.  And, while we’re at it, maybe a manufacturer that intentionally creates more dissension in our communities for the purpose of selling more product should also be chastised for the same reason.

Judge James P Gray (Ret.)

Thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this year, any Long Beach police officer can now stop paying any and all dues to the POA and still receive representation. Those offended by POA actions should consider doing so, starting their own boycott in the spirit of protest.

And remember, if you withdraw from the POA, and just happen to be involved in something controversial even though you may be completely in the right, and you require legal representation that falls outside the scope of the city attorney, you are on your own. You will be paying all your own legal bills. Good luck with that.

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