Kentucky Police Forced to Remove 'Punisher' Decals From Cars After Residents Complain
Many police departments have mimicked the Los Angeles force’s “To protect and to serve” motto as a reflection of their likewise zealous civil allegiance, but a decorative decision by a small Kentucky city’s police chief left a few folks feeling as if the saying had become “To deject and to unnerve.” On Friday, two months after their placement, Cameron Logan, citing backlash from residents of the Bluegrass State, announced the removal of a controversial comic book character’s logo and Blue Lives Matter decals from eight vehicles.
“I consider it to be a ‘warrior logo,’” the Catlettsburg-based law enforcement official said to the Lexington Herald-Leader of the nod to The Punisher, a Marvel Comics creation who operates as a vigilante, noting that the additional artwork represents a promise to "take any means necessary to keep our community safe.”
The tribute and his stance on the decals proved unavoidably upsetting to inhabitants of the 2,500-strong expanse despite legislative backing from Mayor Randall Peterman and City Council. Numerous national incidents, many fatal, have colored perceptions of interactions among police officers and the general public as tense, so the emblem affiliated with The Punisher—a figure who debuted 43 years ago last month and who seeks revenge for the organized crime-orchestrated death of his wife and two children—and the 2014-launched Blue Lives Matter movement struck objectors as insensitive, with Logan quick to counter that neither enhancement had distasteful roots.
— heraldleader (@heraldleader) February 25, 2017
“We’re getting so many calls, and they’re saying that the Punisher logo [means] we’re out to kill people, and that’s not the meaning behind that,” the 13-year veteran told io9. “That didn’t cross my mind.”
Logan commissioned the cruisers-situated head-scratchers through a Louisiana designer and had been hoping to have the latter components show support for Kentucky’s House Bill 14. That piece of legislation, which moves to the State Senate following a 16-2 House Judiciary Committee vote Feb. 8, would classify as hate crimes all attacks on police officers and first responders. He and his police brethren have promoted the Blue Lives Matter philosophy in response to the Black Lives Matter movement that seeks to end suspected police-fueled systemic racism against African-Americans.
While one can understand the connotations that could come from the connection to The Punisher, not to mention copyright infringement issues since Disney owns Marvel Comics, Logan took care to explain that the Blue Lives Matter inclusion derives solely from pride in his line of work.
“Our lives matter just as much as anybody’s,” he said. “… I’m not racist or anything like that. I’m not trying to stir up anything like that.”