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Orders Pouring in for Blue Ribbons, Symbols of LAPD Support

March 30, 1995

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Blue ribbons symbolize winners. That’s the idea.

Police officers from as far away as Miami, New York and Canada are pinning on tiny blue ribbons to show support for Los Angeles Police Department officers, portrayed by O.J. Simpson’s defense attorneys as shoddy workers and liars willing to plant evidence.

The company supplying the tiny emblems, WINCO International in suburban Chatsworth, is scrambling to fill orders for 70,000. ``I’d say it’s overwhelming,″ owner Andy Boston said.

``It’s a statement of support that we stand together, one in blue, from coast to coast,″ said Thomas Tohill, president of the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association in suburban New York City, who said officers will wear the pins as tie tacks. They’ve ordered 1,500.

Boston said even the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ottawa had called about the pins.

The enameled blue ribbons appeared on lapels in Los Angeles in 1991 when the LAPD came under attack after the videotaped beating of motorist Rodney King.

Councilwoman Laura Chick and Police Commissioner Art Mattox resurrected the campaign when Simpson’s defense attorneys suggested their client was the victim of sloppy police work and the alleged desire of one rogue cop, Detective Mark Fuhrman, to frame Simpson for the murders of his ex-wife and her friend.

Dennis Zine, director of the Police Protective League, pitched the pins on CNN earlier this month in an angry response to the claim by Simpson attorney Alan Dershowitz that police are taught to lie.

``I am flabbergasted and overwhelmed by how popular they are,″ Zine said. ``People are saying: `We’re tired of this bashing, we’re tired of this criticism.‴

Simpson attorney Robert Shapiro furthered the pin mania when he wore one while cross-examining Detective Philip Vannatter. Some officers criticized the gesture as hypocritical.

Miami Beach police have ordered 10,000 pins, with plans to sell them to raise money for families of slain officers, said Sgt. Joan Donnelly.

``Some of the officers want to get together to buy Detective Fuhrman a Miami Beach vacation,″ she said.

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