Punisher patches worn on U.S. protesters look the same as one worn by Toronto police officer
As many Canadians watched in horror while Donald Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill and even held protests closer to home, some eagle-eyed Toronto residents spotted a connection between the rioters and a symbol worn by a Toronto Police officer.
The Punisher symbol, a vigilante Marvel Comics character, was seen on at least a few of the Trump supporters at Wednesday night's riots.
Let's not pretend that many signs & symbols seen on white supremacists storming the U.S. Capitol yesterday are not seen on patches worn by many @TorontoPolice such as the Punisher, the 'Thin Blue Line' & others that #TPS officers wear while ON duty.— SURJ Toronto - Here For Dafonte (@SURJto) January 7, 2021
Same-same.#ToPoli #Toronto pic.twitter.com/UDdDX9P0qn
The controversial symbol has been linked to a motto: "I may walk among the sheep, but make no mistake, I am the sheepdog," and the Blue Lives Matter movement, which counters the Black Lives Matter fight.
The officer was eventually called out by his superiors and made to remove the patch.
The symbol has become common amongst Trump supporters.
"Punisher symbol and black garbs have been seen at almost all the protests that have escalated during Trumps presidency," one person wrote on Twitter. "Has continued to be connected to police officers despite Marbles [sic] response to the issue of unauthorized use of the image."
On Wednesday, a Trump supporter wore the Punisher symbol on the front of a vest. The man, dressed in military-like attire, carried a handgun and zip ties as he leapt over seats.
I've seen much discussion about Punisher and the skull this morning.— New Age Comics (@NewAgeComicsPod) January 7, 2021
Good time to post this moment from the comics where Punisher (more so, the author @AshcanPress) addresses the coopting of his symbol.
Its clear that Frank would not approve and these people aren't comic fans. pic.twitter.com/Y6ttpF1TsG
"Handgun. Zip ties. Punisher logo," said one person on Twitter.
One person speculated the zip ties were meant to "tie up hostages."
Another man had the patch sewn onto his backpack.
Protesters are on the third floor of the Senate, walking door to door, shouting “Where the fuck are they?”— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 6, 2021
They’re in the gallery pic.twitter.com/3v4XsPWl5o
Noting the use of the symbol, people suggested Marvel distance itself from the character.
"Marvel needs to just retire that Punisher symbol," one person said.
Recently, the creator of the Punisher has been trying to turn the tables on right-wing protesters.
Gerry Conway, the Punisher's co-creator and writer, started his own line of shirts designed by people of colour to take the symbol back from the right, with proceeds to go to Black Lives Matter, according to The Guardian.
Perhaps Trump supporters should think twice when they decide to don the symbol next time.
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