Kentucky police remove Punisher skull with "Blue Lives Matter" on it from squad cars

Kentucky police remove Punisher skull with "Blue Lives Matter" on it from squad cars

The police chief of Catlettsburg, Ky., has removed decals featuring the logo of comic book vigilante the Punisher and the words "Blue Lives Matter" from the city's police cars after a report in the Lexington Herald-Leader on the choice of decor, according to that same paper.

The decal appeared on eight vehicles in use by the city's eight full-time and two part-time officers, according to the Herald-Leader, and police chief Cameron Logan "worked with a vinyl decal shop in Louisiana to get the decals printed."

The skull component of the decal derives from the insignia favored by comic book antihero Francis "Frank" Castle, better known as the Punisher who's a heavily armed crime fighter.  As io9 noted, while the Punisher character has found some popularity with the Blue Lives Matter movement — which itself originated as a response to the anti-police racism slogan Black Lives Matter — the Punisher is not in fact allied with the authorities but is a vigilante mass murderer.

"That design is basically to give back to the police officers," Logan told the paper, adding "Our lives matter just as much as anybody's. ... I'm not racist or anything like that, I'm not trying to stir anything up like that. I consider it to be a 'warrior logo.' Just 'cause it has 'Blue Lives Matter' on the hood, all lives matter. That decal represents that we will take any means necessary to keep our community safe."

The phrase "blue lives matter" has itself become a point of major political contention in recent years; in Kentucky, a draft bill written under its overarching theme, H.B. 14, would make attacks on police officers or emergency personnel a hate crime. Detractors argue the Blue Lives Matter movement is part of an effort to water down and divert attention from Black Lives Matter's criticism of the large number of black people and minorities killed and arrested by police each year.

"We're getting so many calls, and they're saying that the Punisher logo [means] we're out to kill people, and that's not the meaning behind that," Logan told io9. "That didn't cross my mind."