On-duty members of the NYPD's Queens Warrant Squad were spotted outside a city courthouse last week wearing T-shirts imprinted with a Ernest Hemingway quote, that in the context of the officers' work, could be considered very disturbing:
"There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter."
Tipsters, who passed along the photo below to Gothamist and SocialistWorker.org, said that the cops had badges around their necks, and that words on the front of their T-shirts read, "Fugitive Enforcement NYPD."
The Queens Warrant Squad was described by ABC News as "an elite team of parole officers whose job every day is to track down fugitive felons on the run."
The cops wearing the T-shirts were seen escorting a woman into the Queens courthouse at 125-01 Queens Boulevard on a misdemeanor charge.
As Gothamist notes, the T-shirts likely violate NYPD code, which prohibits "any item of apparel which contains a Department logo or shield, or in any way identifies its wearer with the New York City Police Department unless approved by the Uniform and Equipment Review Committee, prior to being worn by a member of the service, uniformed or civilian, on or off-duty."
It's also not the first time the quote-- taken correctly from Hemingway's 1936 essay, "On The Blue Water: A Gulf Stream Letter"- has been employed by NYPD brass.
Graham Rayman over at The Village Voice remembers:
In 1996, members of the Street Crime Unit, a plainclothes task force which roamed neighborhoods looking for guns, had T-shirts made with the same quote. In 1999, members of the Street Crime Unit shot unarmed Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo 41 times and killed him. The unit was later disbanded.
Former NYPD Commissioner Howard Safir also used the quote during a 60 Minutes interview when describing his work with the U.S. Marshalls Service.
NYPD officer Hasan Hamdy-- who a grand jury ruled wouldn't be indicted for fatally shooting unarmed National Guardsman Noel Polanco last year-- was a member of the Queens Warrant Squad.
We've reached out to the NYPD for comment and will update when we hear back.