CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Suffolk County Courthouse is causing quite a stir after hanging a middle schooler’s “Black Lives Matter” drawing as part of its Black History Month display.
The drawing reads: “Stop The Violence. Black Lives Matter. Stop The Racism.”
Ed Munoz, a retired NYPD officer and WLNY talk show host of “Everything Matters,” is calling for the poster to come down. He referred to it as hate speech.
“’Black Lives Matter,’ we feel, is anti-police and the rhetoric that they spew is anti-police and we actually have them on video walking the streets of New York City calling for the death of police officers,” he told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff. “So for it to be hanging in a courtroom, we find outrageous.”
Offended court officers have questioned the slogan’s placement in a court of law, as retired cops are speaking out because active-duty officers are prohibited from doing so.
“All lives matter,” retired NYPD Det. Glen Klein told CBS2. “Not just black, not just blue, all lives matter.”
Retired NYPD Lt. John Pribetich called it “inappropriate.”
“If it affects a juror — the fate of a police officer lies in their hands,” he told CBS2.
Visitors at the Central Islip courthouse were split over the poster.
“I think it’s highly political and controversial,” one man said.
Another said, “I don’t think it’s anti-cop, it’s just awareness of what’s going on in society today.”
C. Randall Hinrichs, Suffolk County’s chief administrative judge, told CBS2 the court requested art work from a local middle school in celebration of different cultures.
“It is not the intention of the court to put forth any anti-law enforcement message,” he said. “This is the cultural response of a middle school student, here in Central Islip, to present-day America.”
Hinrichs added the last thing they want to do is offend law enforcement.
“It talks about stopping violence and racism, which are admirable sentiments, and I know it’s interpreted by different people, different ways,” he told CBS2. “The last thing we want to do is offend the law enforcement community.”
There are no plans to take it down, as the poster will stay up for the rest of the month.