AUSTIN -- The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas was born out of adversity and has stood alone and fought for officers without any trepidation. CLEAT was the first to employ front-line lawyers to take on the city and county bosses for employment fairness and justice. We were the first statewide police union to take our fight to the state Capitol over issues like working conditions and officer privacy.
We even led a protest against the Texas Municipal Retirement System over unfair practices.
CLEAT again made history when we led a national boycott against Time Warner’s “Cop Killer” in 1992. Our leaders believed that the song combined with the social climate created an environment that would cost lives. So, we stood up and pushed back hard. Two months ago we were one of the first to join the nationwide boycott of Quentin Tarantino’s movie, “The Hateful Eight."
By all reports, that boycott was relatively successful due to both the timing of the release and the fierce objection to the producer’s public assertion at a New York Black Lives Matter protest that he believed cops were murderers. CLEAT was proud to stand with the NYPBA and our national affiliate NAPO.
The current social, political and media climate against law enforcement is strong. Texas has lost the largest number of officers in the nation. We are not the largest in population and we weren’t a state until 1845. Texas law enforcement losses transcend the current political climate and generational political issues. For Texas, the threat against officers is nothing new.
Now as to the current circumstances surrounding the song and video “Formation” by the recording artist Beyoncé Gisell Knowles-Carter and whether officers should be forced to work to provide security at her concerts as well as subsequent social and media events?
The answer is no.
If an officer does not want to work a concert for a certain performer then we believe police administrations will make sure that no officer is forced to work at a task where he or she feels it goes against their beliefs or it is a conscience issue. Texas is a right-to-work state, extra jobs are generally given to those who want to work. If any of our local affiliated unions decide to create an off-duty security boycott of her concerts, they are autonomous and free to act in their own political best interest.
After thoughtful review of her song and video, we believe the mere suggestion that this offering is anti-police or condones violence against officers should present Ms. Knowles-Carter with a great opportunity to set the record straight. The CLEAT Executive Board would like to see such a clarification. It’s clear that Ms. Knowles-Carter has experienced the American dream. Since none of us get to such an exalted state alone, we’d like to remind her and all celebrities that when they come to Texas—it’s law enforcement that adds to their wealth by keeping them and their fans safe.
Perhaps this current controversy could be a learning moment for ALL those whose extreme wealth is directly benefitted by police officers doing their jobs.
-- The CLEAT Executive Board