Denver police union T-shirt: "We get up early to beat the crowds"


The Denver police union is selling T-shirts commemorating the good times they had last month. It costs just $10, which is quite a deal!

The back of the shirts reads, "We get up early to beat the crowds" and "2008 DNC," and has a caricature of a police officer holding a baton.

Detective Nick Rogers, a member of the Police Protective Association board, said police often issue T-shirts to commemorate big events.

Rogers said each Denver officer was given one of the shirts free and others are on sale for $10 each at police union offices.

He said the union expects to sell about 2,000 of them.

Police Union Shirt Celebrates Beating of DNC Protesters

(Via Reason)


  1. Wow! That seems like more of a satire piece, something you could buy from the Onion or something. What a blatant disregard for class.

    Maybe the 700 billion dollars for the bailout would be better spent on law enforcement. Maybe we could get better qualifications than a GED for officers to reduce enthusiasm in immature sh*t like this.

  2. Neat, maybe they could get little red armbands and pointy helmets made up for the next convention.

  3. Maybe I’m outrage deficient, but I find this pretty hilarious. If you can’t laugh, your head may explode someday…

  4. The Chicago cops had T-shirts, too:

    Something like
    “I cracked your hippie Dad in 1968. Now it’s your turn.”

  5. @BEEKONE I fully agree and as a result, do want. How can I get one?!?!?! No way to wear this but with a healthy dose of irony.

  6. I was horrified by what happened at the event, but flipping out about the shirt is misplaced outrage. When you focus your time and attention on something like this instead of the actual brutality, you make it easier for others to disregard your cause.

    Think of a lightning bolt on a building. It takes the hit so that the rest of the structure doesn’t.

    If your upset at this shirt and demand for retribution from it’s printer and/or union rep means that you spend your political capital on punishing these guys instead of pursuing justice from the police who actually did the oppressing, then you’re giving them a free pass.

    It’s a shirt. Don’t let them distract you. Buy one and have it introduced in the hearing over charges levied against the commanding officer, it’ll be much more effectively used that way.

  7. Its just a shirt. It is fairly nonprofessional for the police to be issuing such a thing, regardless of the debatable merits of beating up right wing nutjobs. ;P

  8. chairboy says: When you focus your time and attention on something like this instead of the actual brutality, you make it easier for others to disregard your cause.

    But this directly addresses the brutality in question. Nobody’s saying this shirt by itself is an outrage. The event, the shirt, the cops whose attitude is to celebrate and remember police brutality by having a shirt made of it. It’s all bad.

    Would have been just as bad if the LAPD came out with a shirt that said “City of Kings” with a bloody Rodney King cartoon on it.

  9. My initial reaction to the post was “want!” too, but then I saw that it wasn’t a joke. I think it’s pretty fair to say that supporting and encouraging this kind of behavior could easily bite you in the ass in the near future. Police state’s are always just one slippery slope away.

  10. What’s funny is that it’s a *union* putting it out. Hoffa must be spinning in his grave (wherever it might be).

  11. >>As I’ve said before: people like fascism. It’s the default human state.

    You’re right. Sigh… pass the cyanide capsules please.

  12. I also must just be part of the minority that finds this to just be funny.

    You don’t have to condone police brutality to enjoy laugh at something witty.

  13. I’m from Denver (no t-shirt orders please) and I guess I am confused as to what “outrages” were committed. As far as I could tell, it was mostly business as usual here.

    This, of course, excepts the obnoxious restrictions on free speech that are imposed at just about every “public” event these days.

  14. My god…they are acting just like the folks on Kos or the DU or FireDogLake when a Republican is sick or dies. They make fun et al….

    Who would’ve thunk that. Imagine a groups that makes fun of other groups….wow…just wow.

  15. i would laugh, if it didn’t piss me off so badly. this just goes to show you how much the cops LOVE participating in a lil head smashin on th ‘unwashed masses’. bastards.

  16. The shirt is a bit funny, but it would be a lot funnier if they were poking fun at something people were concerned about that didn’t come to pass.

  17. T nyn wh dsn’t s th hmr n ths: stp tkng yrslf s srsly. thrws, ys, yr hd my xpld smdy… (thnks btwrksmsc)

  18. #24

    You do have to condone police brutality to enjoy a laugh at an explicit endorsement of police brutality, which is exacly what the shirt above is.

  19. they are acting just like the folks on Kos or the DU or FireDogLake when a Republican is sick or dies.


    Oh, I almost forgot. You’re just making shit up.

  20. This shirt is most definitely celebrating thuggishness and intimidation of free-speech.

    This is a decidedly non-partisan issue for me. Outside of the Articles of the Constitution, the 1st Amendment is perhaps the most important. I don’t care whether it’s at the DNC or the RNC or at a local meeting of a village government, the moment we allow intimidation to deny speech which we may not agree is the moment we give up all right to call our society “free”.

    An oft (mis)quoted aphorism by Voltaire sums it up my feelings when it comes to Republicans, Democrats, or really anyone with whom I disagree (which is a surprisingly large list –a shocker, I know):

    “Monsieur l’abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.”
    –letter to M. le Riche, February 6, 1770

  21. IANAL, but this shirt could become a liability for Denver police in court cases over the DNC…

  22. That reminds me of the “sue me” shirts that the mercenary security/police Enforcers in Snow Crash wear under their uniforms.

  23. Damn, it’s like Snow Crash…
    “And then there’s The Enforcers – but they cost a lot and don’t take well to supervision. It is rumored that, under their uniforms, they wear T-shirts bearing the unofficial Enforcer coat of arms: a fist holding a nightstick, emblazoned with the words SUE ME.”

  24. “We get up early – to ‘beat’ the crowds” isn’t really that funny, even in the context of riot control police.

  25. This is an OFFICIAL police t-shirt??
    Is this not bald faced facism?
    They don’t seem to care anymore.


  26. Let’s see what happens when someone wears a “One Less Pig” t-shirt that has the image of the most recently KIA Denver officer.

  27. As someone with a username that essentially falls into the same category as this shirt I’m appalled by the lack of tact and humor. Mythical beast/80’s movie quote? Funny. Selling a shirt that boasts of you and your buddies beating the crap out of unarmed people with sticks? I’m sure you guys have already come up with a name for that…

    At the same time, if a punk band had come out with this shirt first we might not be having this discussion at all. If that were the case, the message would be one of obvious disgust and anger rather than the sickening pride this shirt embodies. This is just hate group merchandise.

  28. The scary thing is that they are learning – they are co-opting the joke for themselves before someone else gets a chance to use it. It is always better to take a cheap shot at yourself than to wait for someone else to make it and get real mileage from it

  29. To me, the pleasure of having my suspicions confirmed outweighs my outrage of seeing the Denver Police force admit to their fascist spirit.
    On the whole this post puts me in a good mood, which probably means that when the world eventually descends into a dog-eat-dog Armageddon I’ll just sit around cheerfully proclaiming things like “I told you so!”.

  30. so they openly acknowledge they are just another gang outside the Rule of Law. Better that way. A stupid enemy is a gift.

  31. The only amusing thing about the shirt is that they had to upper-case “BEAT” in case the joke was too subtle otherwise.

  32. I wonder what their reaction would be if I wore an “Ice-T Cop Killer shirt”?
    The hypocrisy in my democracy, makes me want to puke.

  33. Chairboy @12, the notion that political power is “capital” that gets “spent” is a myth, or at least an over-simplification. If you have to think of it as capital, then think like a capitalist — political capital can be invested in ways that make it grow, or it can be wasted.

    It doesn’t waste any capital for Mark to blog about this shirt. It spreads the information, so that it’s more likely that someone will come up with a useful approach, like (as you suggested) introducing it as evidence in a lawsuit against the cops.

  34. I kinda want to buy one of these. The irony of it is too rich. Did anyone see an online link to buy it?

    Someone convince them to put these online!

  35. Yes, it’s freaking funny, in the way that most things are funny when you realize you’re about to die so you might as well laugh.

    Please, however, don’t anyone buy one – you’re just giving money to the thugs. I would want one too if only it didn’t mean giving money to the Denver police union.

    If they for example lost a court case that required them to donate all the proceeds from the sale of the shirts to a legal fund which would be available to anyone arrested by the riot cops, and usable for defence, and prosecution and lawsuits over police malconduct – then I’d buy two.

  36. My principle objection is to the redundant comma.

    Oppressing the citizenry is one thing; abusing the basic rules of punctuation is quite another.


  37. wouldn’t it be karmically nice if the punishment could fit the crime, and the riot cops must don t-shirts and jeans, and be restricted to a “free speach zone”, whilst the protesters don riot gear, complete with helmet, pads, pepper spray, tasers and batons, and then are set loose on the penned-in po-leese for a little ‘ultra-violence’! then, to the milk bar me droogies! oh, to dream..

  38. I’m astounded that these are OFFICIAL.

    And people seemed shocked (shocked!) when you make blanket statements about Police being swineheaded simpletons.

  39. I live in Denver, and have for several years now. I’m not a huge fan of the actions of the Denver Police, but their conduct during the DNC was not a problem. I was downtown for several events, including the ReCreate68 march through the city.

    The Recreate people had made it pretty clear they were looking for a physical confrontation. They had basically threatened the city with violence and destruction, and marched through the city without a permit. While I’m not into having to get permits to protest, there are some simple rules. They even asked their marches to get in line with those wanting/willing to be arrested in a certain spot.

    The police of my city were present in large numbers near the marching route. They stood and watched, quiet and not in anyone’s way. Their job that day was insane – 3,000 people walking through town who had threatened the city, the police, and anyone nearby. Spectators were yelling and taunting the police, who were standing outside the route of the marchers. People outside the march were vulgar and inappropriate, blaming the Denver cops for everything from Iraq to 9/11, yelling obscenities and other names. I really liked the guy standing behind a cement wall, a bush and a parked car calling the cops sissies – very brave of him.

    The marchers turned out to be pretty calm, walking and singing and chanting and waving their signs. They caused no problems, and the Denver Police gave them no problems.

    People had threatened my city and the peace of my town, to protest against actions we didn’t cause (and generally don’t support either). They wanted the attention of the Democrat leaders, but were not even near them. Their gripe was with others, but they were acting against the wrong people. They had basically promised violence. Should the Denver police not have been there? Not have been around to keep my city streets safe for me to walk through and talk with protesters and others? Should they not have been prepared?

    How would you feel if people were threatening your town, and your job was to go stand next to the protest march and keep things peaceful? Would you wear armor and a shield, or jeans and a t-shirt? Would you be worried about being hit with human shit? Or pepper sprayed by protesters? Or shot? I’m glad those officers were there, and impressed with their work that week.

    I disagree with many policies of our country, and our suppression of free speech seems to have gotten severe lately, and our mainstream journalists are spineless and ignore this. But this time, the police weren’t wrong. The shirts are even damn funny (and not currently for sale to the public afaik).

    DPD has done some bad stuff, and seems to have a culture of accepted violence. The admin seems to never punish cops that are out of control. Shooting people doesn’t get much press, and officers are ALWAYS found in the right. But for the DNC, they were polite, pleasant, and present. We even got a big giant mean ass looking riot cop to take off his helmet and smile for a photo with my girlfriend. They’re sometimes almost human.

    the FiatRN
    Denver, CO

  40. Oh, come on. The shirt is hilarious. And as for being a “police brutality apologist,” I say guilty, as charged: They’re cops. They deal with a lot of nasty people for shitty pay. Brutal gets it done, and joking about it like this helps them to deal with it. At least they’re not humorless assholes. And before some wag comes back with “No, just violent ones,” remember that the “recreate 68” folks were organizing with the explicit intention of recreating one of the most violent political demonstrations in US history. If a bunch of strangers came to my hometown intending to trash it in order to make a statement in some kind of national political dialog, I would whole-heartedly endorse “beating” as the appropriate response.

    Also, these T-shirts are not in any way “official.” They’re being issued by the police union, which in case you guys aren’t up on the idea of organized labor, is pretty much diametrically opposed to the official police administration.

    P.S. Kindly note the spelling of “speech.”

  41. If you wear this shirt at the next public gathering, do the police beat you up for wearing that shirt?

  42. I note that the two commenters who want to acquire a shirt have both asked for large size. Is there any other size in America?

  43. The Department of Homeland Security is funneling millions of dollars into law enforcement in cities and towns around the country. They’re giving all kinds of training. Training our police to be the future Enforcers of the coming Police State, unless we do something about it soon. They’re still human and fellow citizens, but the more they get trained to be desensitized, to use brutality, to shoot first, the further the divide will be, and the more fear will be instilled. Seriously, aren’t you a little afraid of cops these days? I try to be as law-abiding as I possibly can and they still are freaking me out. Fear is the ultimate control tactic in a closed society.

    US Military troops, as of Oct. 1, have been stationed on our soil for domestic enforcement. The coup is not on the horizon; it is happening.

    This shirt is a perfect example of doublethink – it’s really funny but it gets you laughing about something absolutely atrocious and unamerican that is happening, getting us used to putting up with whatever fascist tactics are used. They’re heating up the water real slow so the frog doesn’t jump out.

    Check out Naomi Wolf: link

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