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Oregon police change name of K9 ‘Lil Kim’ after activists say it’s offensive

Oregon police change name of K9 ‘Lil Kim’ after activists say it’s offensive to use black rapper’s name due to ‘history of cops using dogs on people of color’

  • Community leaders complained the name for Bend police dog was insensitive
  • A local activist said: ‘I don’t want to see Lil’ Kim out there biting people of color’ 
  • Police Chief Mike Krantz said from now on the dog would be known only as Kim 

An Oregon police department has agreed to change the name of a K9 called ‘Lil’ Kim’ following anger that it shared a name with the Grammy award-winning black rapper.

Community leaders complained the Belgian Malinois’ name was insensitive given the use of police dogs against black people – including in the civil rights era – and the musician’s status as a leading black hip hop star.

Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz insisted the dog was never named after the rapper and ‘lil’ was simply a reference to its size – but said nonetheless the canine would now be known only as Kim. 

Community leaders complained the name Lil’ Kim for a K9 owned by Bend Police Department was insensitive given the use of police dogs against black people

Lil' Kim is the stage name for Kimberley Jones, a multi Grammy-award winning hip hop artist who has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide

Lil’ Kim is the stage name for Kimberley Jones, a multi Grammy-award winning hip hop artist who has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide

It followed a complaint from Riccardo Waites, the founder of the Central Oregon Black Leaders Assembly, who said in a video Thursday: ‘If you’re a person of color, or if you’re a fan of Lil’ Kim, you know her significance in Hip Hop. 

‘You also know that she’s a gangster rapper. Just to be honest, I don’t want to see Lil’ Kim out there biting people of color.’

Lil’ Kim is the stage name for Kimberley Jones, a multi Grammy-award winning hip hop artist who has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide.

Chief Krantz told Oregon Public Broadcasting: ‘Although the dog is not named after a musician, it’s important to recognize that some people may assume that or believe that.

‘I think in the eyes of some community members there is a connection historically to the use of dogs, specifically on protesters and Black community members, and that, that could bring a fear of canines.’

Police routinely referred to the dog as Lil’ Kim in public statements, including a Facebook post on January 29 which read: ‘Bend PD K9 Kim (aka Lil’ Kim as she is little but mighty) is turning 6! 

‘K9 Kim is a Belgian Malinois who is a rockstar suspect apprehension dog. She is trained to locate a suspect who is fleeing or hiding.

‘Her skills are not limited to only tracking suspects; she can also help with searching for missing people, like a child or elderly person who has wandered away from home.’

Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz

The dog in a training scenario

Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz (left) insisted the dog (seen right in a training scenario) was never named after the rapper

On February 28, officials used the name in a press release about the dog helping to apprehend a domestic violence suspect.

Social justice campaigner Waites insisted the move would help improve community relations.

‘While it may appear a small or inconsequential matter to some, it is not to those of us who remember how police dogs were used against peacefully protesting civil rights workers and People of Color in the 1960s and are still used as a means of crowd control and intimidation today,’ he wrote.

Pictures of police dogs snarling or attacking African Americans at protests became some of the most iconic images of the civil rights eras.

A police dog attacking high school student Walter Gadsden in Birmingham, Alabama, on May 3, 1963. He was an onlooker at a protest

A police dog attacking high school student Walter Gadsden in Birmingham, Alabama, on May 3, 1963. He was an onlooker at a protest 

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