Members of the NYPD’s Queens Warrant Squad were spotted last week wearing T-shirts imprinted with a quote that some folks might find just a little bit offensive. A photo is at right. The quote reads, “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.” The quote is correctly attributed to Ernest Hemingway.
Two people who saw warrant squad cops in the shirts on a couple of mornings last week outside of the Queens courthouse at 125-01 Queens Boulevard offered their critique. “I find it highly offensive for the NYPD to have an official shirt with this on the back. … You don’t hunt men, you hunt animals,” said one observer.
Said another: “I don’t think that human beings should be hunted down like animals, cops are here to serve and protect.”
The use of the shirts was first reported yesterday on socialistworker.org.
This isn’t the first time that quote has been used, badly, by NYPD personnel.
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 Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik once told his subordinates: “I am a hunter of men.” Kerik went on to declare he would hunt down anyone who he thought was disloyal.
And Kerik’s predecessor, Howard Safir, in 1991, used the quote to boast about his work for the U.S. Marshals Service on 60 Minutes. Safir went on the show hoping to turn his career into a book or movie deal. Didn’t happen.
We’re told that on the day the photo was taken, the warrants squad was processing a woman charged with a misdemeanor. She was released later in the day.
We asked the NYPD for comment, and will update this item if any is forthcoming. No one answered the phone when we called the Queens Warrant Squad.