June 18, 2012

Best Dressed for Unrest: NYPD's Disarming Summer Fashion Statement

Polo Shirt NYPD cop

I’ve got to tell you, what caught my eye more than anything from the coverage of the “stop-and-frisk” demo in New York on Sunday was the NYPD’s latest fashion statement (or, apparel strategy).  I mean, with all those eyes on you now, what’s a civil defense servant to wear these days?

Examining the photo, of course there is the irony here of the protester not consenting to the “snatch-and-grab.” It’s the “casual Friday” approach to the NYPD’s hardline protest suppression that’s really clever here, though. The white shirts have ’em and the blue shirts have ’em. Add the big brimmed b-ball style cap and it’s like you’re getting arrested now by your next-door-neighbor, or the average Joe sitting next to you at the Mets game, or the friendly guy down at the union hall. Decked out for summer, and summer civil unrest, I actually think the shirt works. Mr. Polo Cop here really does seem to be less intimidating and aggressive in his informal dress than the traditional looking copy in the foreground — at the same time, he’s obviously the guy with the meanest grip.

(photo: Eric Thayer/Reuters caption: A woman is taken into custody by the police following a protest in New York June 17, 2012. Thousands of New Yorkers marched in silence down Fifth Avenue on Sunday to demand an end to the New York Police Department’s “stop-and-frisk” program, which the protesters say disproportionately targets black and Latino males.)

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Michael Shaw
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