As Beyonce prepares to launch her world tour in Florida, she is facing a backlash from law enforcement across the state. At one point, it was being reported that police in Tampa were not volunteering to work security at her upcoming concert at Raymond James Stadium on April 29. The concert is expected to be a sold-out show, so not staffing the event with uniformed officers would be a security risk.
Union President Vincent Gericitano confirmed several officers have said they are upset following Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance and the release of her new song “Formation,” saying it is anti-cop. He said many officers have said they do not want to volunteer to work her concert. Big events like this are typically staffed by off duty officers who volunteer for the job and make a little extra income.
However, Tampa police have released a statement saying they have “dozens” of officers signed on to work the concert. Tampa Police Department spokesperson Steve Hegarty said, “We’re going to staff it because we have a responsibility to do that regardless of how controversial it might be, who the artist might be, or the politician might be.” This would not be the first time officers were not interested in working for an event featuring a controversial politician or celebrity, but each time the department has been able to ensure enough officers cover the venue prior to the event. A list of officers who volunteered to take on the extra shift during show has not been released.
Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance ignited a national controversy. During the performance, her dancers wore Black Panther-inspired uniforms and held a sign emblazoned with “justice for Mario Woods,” a 26-year-old black man shot and killed by San Francisco police in December. The music video for “Formation” features police in SWAT gear, a graffiti wall that reads “stop shooting us” and the singer on top of a police cruiser sinking into water.
Beyonce’s sold out tour will launch in Miami at the Marlin Park stadium April 27. The police union in Miami has taken a firm stand against the singer, voting to boycott her concert. In a press release, Javier Ortiz, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, said, “The fact that Beyonce used this year’s Super Bowl to divide Americans by promoting the Black Panthers and her antipolice message shows how she does not support law enforcement.” Ortiz did not say whether or not police would be staffing the concert, but a Miami Police Department spokesperson, Officer Frederic Burden, said in a statement that the event will have adequate police coverage.