ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – In the Duke City, the three letters APD typically stands for Albuquerque Police Department.
But a new shirt being sold online that uses those letters in a very different way is stirring controversy.
This weekend, the Albuquerque Clothing Company started selling a white t-shirt with the letters APD riddled with bullet holes.
Below it are the words ‘Another Person Dead’, a sharp dig at APD’s history of police shootings.
Although the company’s CEO and shirt designer Gregg McPhedrain says it was spurred by APD’s recent shooting of James Boyd, the idea had been in the works for years.
“We try to do mostly positive things but then with the shooting and the controversy we finally decided that it was about time,” McPhedrain said. “There’s a lot going on in the city and it’s kind of getting swept under so now we have a rug with a big lump in it. So let’s kick some of that out.”
The words aren’t new. APD protester Mike Gomez, whose unarmed son was shot and killed by officers in 2011, came up with the slogan and has used it on signs in city council meetings since 2012.
McPhedrain says $5 from every $15 shirt sold will go to a mental health charity, the rest of the proceeds will go back into his company. McPhedrain declined to specify which charity saying he didn’t want it to get tangled up in any controversy over the shirt.
“It’s very disheartening,” said Stephanie Lopez, APD union president. “I think it’s pretty unfortunate that they’re doing it at the expense of a police department.”
Lopez says a protest sign is one thing, but selling shirts is simply profiting off of others people’s tragedy.
“I’m pretty disappointed that somebody would take advantage of somebody’s misfortune to try to make a profit off of it,” Lopez said.
“We’re not getting rich off this,” McPhedrain said.
McPhedrain defended the shirt as an artistic statement.
“That’s what art is,” McPhedrain said. “It makes you uncomfortable, it makes you think it holds you in that space to review what’s going on.”