Even police dogs are getting canceled.
An Oregon police department is no longer calling a beloved K9 “Lil’ Kim” after complaints from black rights activists, according to reports.
Bend Police Department has long referred to its Belgian Malinois by the same moniker as the famed Brooklyn-born rapper in official press releases, as well as a recent Facebook post celebrating its “rockstar suspect apprehension dog” on her 6th birthday.
The name outraged activist Riccardo Waites, the founder of the Central Oregon Black Leaders Assembly, who complained to Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz in emails and then a meeting last week, Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) said.
“If you’re a person of color, or if you’re a fan of Lil’ Kim, you know her significance in Hip Hop. You also know that she’s a gangster rapper,” Krantz said in a video, according to Fox News.
“Just to be honest, I don’t want to see Lil’ Kim out there biting people of color,” he said.
Waites first emailed the police chief to make sure he knew who the “Don’t Mess With Me” singer was, and to detail why giving a police dog the same name was insensitive, he told OPB.
“While it may appear a small or inconsequential matter to some, it is not to those of us who remember how police dogs were used against peacefully protesting civil rights workers and People of Color in the 1960s and are still used as a means of crowd control and intimidation today,” Waites wrote to the chief, according to the outlet.
Police chief Krantz confirmed to OPB that the K9 Lil’ Kim would not only be referred to as Kim — but insisted the nickname never had anything to do with the rapper, merely that the dog was smaller than her colleagues. Her birthday tribute said the name came from her being “little but mighty.”
Despite official mentions to her as Lil’ Kim less than a month ago, Krantz also insisted the change had nothing to do with complaints. “We addressed it previously, internally, and the dog’s name is Kim,” he told OPB.
Still, he conceded, “Although the dog is not named after a musician, it’s important to recognize that some people may assume that or believe that.
“I think in the eyes of some community members there is a connection historically to the use of dogs, specifically on protestors and Black community members, and that, that could bring a fear of canines,” he said.