Local News

Raleigh Police Union will not boycott upcoming Beyoncé concert

Posted February 23, 2016 5:01 p.m. EST
Updated February 23, 2016 10:47 p.m. EST

— The Raleigh Police Protective Association voted unanimously Tuesday night to not boycott the upcoming Beyoncé concert on May 3 at North Carolina State University’s Carter-Finley Stadium.

Several police unions across the country viewed Beyoncé’s Super Bowl 50 halftime performance as “anti-police.” In addition to her halftime show in Santa Clara, others have expressed issues with her “Formation” music video.

In the video, Beyoncé is seen on the top of a police car sinking in what looks to be flood water. There’s also a clip of police officers with their hands in the air and the words “stop shooting us” spray painted on a wall.

Officers across the country have said they believe Beyoncé was making a political statement in response to the number of police-related shootings, where young black men were killed.

"While we do have concerns over the perceived anti-law enforcement images Ms. Knowles uses in her most recent music video and her halftime performance at the Super Bowl, we voted unanimously not to boycott the May 3 concert," read a statement from Raleigh Police Protective Association president Matt Cooper. "We encourage police officers to make an individual decision whether to volunteer to work off-duty at this concert."

In the same statement, Cooper said that the 550 member Police Protective Association does not condone violence against police officers and will continue to speak out against 'negative depictions of our officers, including violence targeted at the courageous men and women who give their lives to keep our communities safe."

Although he would not give an exact number, Cooper said several officers within the organization expressed concerns over Beyoncé's Super Bowl performance, specifially with her dancers, who were dressed similar to members of the Black Panther Party.

"There's been some perception that they have also used some violence towards police officers and we're not supportive of that," Cooper said.

Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock said the choice to boycott the concert could have resulted in taking money out of taxpayers’ pockets.

Medlock said regardless of what is being said or expressed by an artist, it doesn’t give any officer on duty the right to not protect and serve.

“One of those rights under our constitution is the right of free speech and self-expression,” Medlock said. “Not everything that I protect I agree with, but that’s not my job. My job is to protect those folks and give them the opportunity to express themselves.”

Many of the officers who work special events are off-duty officers paid by the organization behind the event.

"We have many officers that come from different backgrounds, different beliefs, and different political affiliations," Cooper said.