News and Commentary

Cop Working On Thanksgiving Goes To Starbucks For Coffee To Thank Dispatchers. Cup Gets Labeled ‘Pig.’
A Starbucks sign hangs in front of their store at the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets shopping mall on November 17, 2019 in Central Valley, New York.
Photo by Gary Hershorn/Corbis via Getty Images

One Oklahoma police officer working on Thanksgiving Day got a rude surprise when he visited Starbucks to get coffee as a thank-you for the dispatchers who work with him: the cup he was given, instead of having his name on it, was labeled “Pig.”

Johnny O’Mara, Chief of Police in Kiefer, Oklahoma, recounted the incident on Facebook along with a picture, writing:

My officer goes to Starbucks to get the dispatchers coffee as a thank you for all they do (especially when they’re working a holiday.) This is what he gets for being nice. What irks me is the absolute and total disrespect for a police officer who, instead of being home with family and enjoying a meal and a football game, is patrolling his little town.

O’Mara continued, “This cup of coffee for a ‘pig’ is just another little flag. It’s another tiny symptom and a nearly indiscernible shout from a contemptuous, roaring and riotous segment of a misanthropic society that vilifies those who stand for what’s right and glorifies the very people who would usher in the destruction of the social fabric. It’s another tiny pinprick into the heart of men and women who are asking themselves more often: ‘Why am I doing this?’”

O’Mara then reflected on the employee’s need to make their feelings about cops known: “Just pour the coffee, please. Are we at a point where a task as simple as pouring an exceptionally overpriced cup of coffee is so complicated that it cannot be accomplished without ‘expressing oneself?’”

O’Mara said he called the Starbucks and was informed they would make amends, that they would be happy to “replace the coffee with a correct label.” O’Mara commented, “The proverb ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me’ came to mind.”

O’Mara concluded with a note of gratitude for his staff that worked on Thanksgiving: “Thank you, first responders, for risking it all this Thanksgiving away from your families. If you’re looking for coffee use a place where you pour your own and you’re certain of what’s in it.). Stay safe; go home.”

Calling policemen “pigs” first started roughly two hundred years ago; the Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and Pickpocket Eloquence, published in London in 1811, noted this sentence: “The pigs frisked my panney, and nailed my screws,” which means “The officers searched my house, and seized my picklocks.” The dictionary wrote: “Pig. A Police officer.”The Slang Dictionary of 1874 wrote: “Pig, a policeman; an informer. The word is now almost exclusively applied by London thieves to a plain-clothes man …”

The IB Times noted:

School for Champions educator Ron Kurtus traces the modern popularity of the slur to an incident that occurred at the 1968 National Democratic Convention. A group called the Youth International Party — whose followers became known as “yippies” — brought a pig to the demonstration, proclaiming it their presidential candidate. When authorities seized the animal, protestors called the police officers “pigs” and media later caught on, cementing the term in popular, anti-establishment youth culture.

In January 2017, Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay’s annual art competition decided the winner was a painting that featured police as pigs. It was hung in the U.S. Capitol, prompting Republican U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter to slam the action and remove the painting, then put it back. Clay threatened to file a police report.

The most famous recent reference to police as pigs came courtesy of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who wore socks with images pigs wearing police hats to practice when he played with the San Francisco 49ers in 2016.