Chicago PD Clearly Didn't Read 'Punisher' Co-Creator's Tweet Before Selling These Bandanas

Visitors to the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7 gift shop can purchase a bandana with a Blue Lives Matter symbol bearing the skull-shaped symbol of the comic book character, The Punisher. Some, including co-creator of The Punisher Gerry Conway, have criticized the use of the logo by police officers.

As the subject of a Netflix series and multiple comics, Frank Castle, better known as The Punisher, is known for employing a violent brand of vigilante justice after the death of his family at the hands of gangsters. The stylized skull has been adopted by some members of the law enforcement community who placed the logo on police vehicles and other paraphernalia. In some cases, parts of the skull have been embellished with the mark of the Thin Blue Line, representing the fraternity between officers.

However, one of the people responsible for the creation of the character said that police officers who wear the logo "should be fired immediately."

"Any 'cop' who wears a Punisher logo in his official capacity is identifying law enforcement with an outlaw," comic writer and co-creator of The Punisher Gerry Conway tweeted in June. "These 'cops' are a disgrace to serious police officers everywhere. They show an imbecilic level of irresponsibility and should be fired immediately."

President of the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7 John Catanzara, Jr. said he was in favor of the symbol on the bandana on sale in the lodge gift shop.

"I don't know who approved it but I still approve it so those people should toughen up a little bit," Catanzara, Jr. told Newsweek on Tuesday. "If they're offended by a simple little symbol, they really need to reevaluate their life."

blue lives matter, black lives matter
Chicago police block the path of Black Lives Matter demonstrators as they march through downtown in July. Scott Olson/Getty

In October 2019, a police officer in Dallas, Texas was seen at a meeting of the city's Community Police Oversight Board wearing a cap emblazoned with a Punisher logo. When members of the community attempted to reach the podium to give their comments, a fight erupted. One of the officers attempting to stop the fight was wearing the Punisher hat.

According to pop culture site io9, the incident was enough to cause the department to begin "actively investigating this incident as a violation of the uniform policy."

Other groups have appropriated the Punisher symbol as well, including military and militia factions. Some have linked the symbol to QAnon, a conspiracy theory connecting some members of the entertainment industry and high-ranking lawmakers to an alleged pedophilia ring.

Some officers could be seen wearing the logo during recent protests against the May death of George Floyd. Conway created a campaign called Skulls for Justice which reappropriated the logos to support Black Lives Matter. Proceeds from t-shirts sold by the Skulls for Justice campaign were donated to Black Lives Matter.

"For too long, symbols associated with a character I co-created have been co-opted by forces of oppression and to intimidate Black Americans," Conway wrote in a June statement. "This character and symbol was never intended as a symbol of oppression. This is a symbol of a systematic failure of equal justice."