Earlier this month, fresh off a scintillating — and controversial — Super Bowl performance, Beyoncé announced she would kick off her 2016 Formation tour in Miami at Marlins Park. Tickets sold out almost immediately.
Now, the outspoken chief of Miami's police union says his officers plan to boycott the show because of the superstar's supposedly “anti-police message” in that Super Bowl.
Fraternal Order of Police President Javier Ortiz says he believes Beyoncé's performance showed allegiance to the Black Panther Party and a lack of support for law enforcement, referencing a scene from Beyoncé's “Formation” video that shows police in riot gear with their hands up in surrender to a little boy dancing in a hoodie.
“I challenge Beyoncé to review the 86-page report written by the United States Department of Justice on the death investigation of Michael Brown,” Ortiz wrote
Ortiz is known for creating or embroiling himself in controversy, using his Twitter to call Tamir Rice “a thug,” doxxing civilians who film police misconduct, and suggesting an assistant police chief who didn't do the Pledge of Allegiance to his liking was probably Muslim.
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Although Ortiz is right about the “hands up” mantra, he should have fact checked his statement before rebuking Queen Bey for perpetuating falsehoods. In his news release, Ortiz wrote that “while Beyoncé physically saluted the 50th anniversary of the Black Panthers movement” he chooses to salute NYPD Officer Richard Rainey “who succumbed to his injuries on Feb. 16, 2016 from being shot by two Black Panthers.” However, the shooting involving Rainey happened back in 1981 and that Rainey died almost a year ago, in March 2015.
It's also unclear if Ortiz is calling for police to boycott the Beyoncé concert as civilian ticket-buyers or if he's suggesting officers avoid taking overtime to work the detail that night, as is common for large shows and events. In Tampa, where Beyoncé is scheduled perform two days after her Miami show, not a single cop has signed up to work the concert, but the Tampa Police Department says it will have to staff the event regardless to keep concertgoers safe, according to Fox 13 News.
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An MPD spokesman said in an email Friday that "the event will be staffed."
Ortiz hasn't returned messages from the New Times. We'll update this post if he gets back to us.
Here's Ortiz's full statement:
The Miami Fraternal Order of Police has voted to have all law enforcement officers boycott Beyoncé’s concert which is being held at the Miami Marlins Stadium on Wednesday, April 26, 2016. The fact that Beyoncé used this year’s Super Bowl to divide Americans by promoting the Black Panthers and her anti-police message shows how she does not support law enforcement.
I was one of the tens of thousands of law enforcement officers that didn’t watch the Super Bowl halftime show out of respect for our profession. On another day while flipping through the television channels, I did mistakenly watch her "Formation” video that shows scenes of a young black boy dancing in front of police in riot gear, who signal their surrender by putting their hands up, referencing the "Hands up, don't shoot" anthem of the Black Lives Matter movement inspired by the 2014 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. I challenge Beyoncé to review the eighty-six page report written by the United States Department of Justice on the death investigation of Michael Brown. As quoted by a witness that was interviewed by investigators, Witness 108 refused to provide additional details to either county or federal authorities, citing community sentiment to support a “hands up” surrender narrative as his reason to remain silent. He explained that he would rather go to jail than testify before the county grand jury. As detailed throughout the USDOJ report, those hands up, don’t shoot accounts are inaccurate because they are inconsistent with the physical and forensic evidence. Countless others contradicted or recanted their accounts of what transpired. Hands up, don't shoot was built on a lie.
While Beyoncé physically saluted the 50th anniversary of the Black Panthers movement at the Super
Bowl, I salute NYPD Officer Richard Rainey, who succumbed to his injuries on February 16, 2016 from being shot by two Black Panthers who he had pulled over in a traffic stop. I also salute the dozens of law enforcement officers that have been assassinated by members of the Black Panthers.
We ask all law enforcement labor organizations to join our boycott across the country and to boycott all of her concerts.