We already know that some people hated Beyonce's appearance at the Super Bowl halftime show. Critics claimed her song "Formation" contained anti-police messages, and that her performance disrespected officers by paying tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement and the Black Panthers. But a prominent organization of U.S. sheriffs is taking that criticism one step further by suggesting that Beyonce actually helped stoke deadly violence against police.
In a press release published last week, the National Sheriffs' Association encouraged members of law enforcement to wear blue to honor recently fallen officers. The statement also appeared to link Beyonce's performance to a number of fatal shootings that took place during the week after the Feb. 7 Super Bowl.
Five police officers were killed between Feb. 10 and 11, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which collects data on line-of-duty deaths. All five were shot during efforts to question or arrest suspects.
It's unclear why the National Sheriffs' Association thinks Beyonce might have motivated the perpetrators to carry out such heinous acts. The group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
People have both praised and pilloried the music video for "Formation," which has been called "unapologetically black." It features Beyonce on top of a New Orleans police cruiser and graffiti that reads "stop shooting us," among other politically charged images.
The National Sheriffs' Association has been consistent in its opposition to Beyonce's message. Members of the group reportedly turned their backs on the television during the broadcast of the Super Bowl halftime show, in protest of the song's supposedly anti-police nature.
The efforts to blame Beyonce for recent violence against police appear to have resonated with other law enforcement officials as well. On Tuesday, Sheriff Robert Arnold of Rutherford County, Tennessee, suggested that an outburst of gunfire on his street was tied to "everything that’s happened since the Super Bowl."
"You know, Beyonce's video," he continued.
Arnold later told the Daily News Journal in an email that his comments weren't "meant to offend anyone," and that they were "an observation of the violence that has occurred." He also included a link to the above National Sheriffs' Association release.
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