A local family prominent in the Newfoundland dog breeding community say they have been targeted with hateful messages after a social media post about their son, Bradlee Davis, becoming a police officer that also used the hashtags #bluelivesmatter and #alllivesmatter.
The Canby family owns the kennel Notta Bear Newfoundlands, which breeds and shows Newfoundland dogs around the world. Notta Bear also promotes the “gentle giant” dog breed on their social media platforms, which enjoy a large following — particularly on Instagram (more than 23,000 fans).
The channels rarely, if ever, share anything but Newfie-related pictures and information — posts about cute puppies and funny dogs that would be unlikely to draw blowback even during the most divisive of times.
But what the family described as harassment followed a June 1 Instagram post that included a screenshot of a news article with the newly sworn-in officer and the aforementioned hashtags along with several others, including #protectandserve, #policeofficer, #myson💙 and #copmom.
Bradlee Davis’ sister, Bethany, said the family was forced to close discussion on the post after receiving comments such as “All cops should die” and “I hope your son gets taken out.”
“Just want to let you know that I’m unfollowing due to your #bluelivesmatter and #alllivesmatter,” said one private message that was shared with the Canby Now Podcast. “You can be proud for your son, but this is distasteful and insensitive and shows you don’t care about black Americans and minorities in general. Dogs learn racism from their owners, so I hope you’re not teaching this to your dogs.”
The son of Notta Bear owners Becky and Jon Davis, Bradlee Davis grew up in Canby and has always dreamed of becoming a police officer. He has volunteered at numerous local outreaches since he was a teenager, Bethany said, including Safety Town in Canby and as a counselor at Canby Grove and other camps.
He is a graduate of the nationally recognized law enforcement program at Chemeketa Community College, where he was class president and a member of the school’s honor guard.
“He’s a truly good person, never been into any sort of trouble, and only wants to make the world a better, safer place,” Bethany said in a Facebook message. “And people that don’t know him, have never met him, are wishing him harm, even death? A man who only wants to defend them with HIS life? It really worries us all. It’s scary.”
Other messages that were shared with the CNP were more polite, and made efforts to explain why the hashtagged phrases were offensive. Most of these also expressed congratulations on Bradlee’s achievements.
“That’s great your son became a cop,” one said. “Really, it is. Your parenting will be put to the test in its most truest form. You hashtagging all lives matter — although true — all lives are not being put in danger. Not all people are profiled because of the color of their skin. Not all people have had the ‘life is going to be hard because of your skin color’ conversation.
“MY BLACK LIFE MATTERS. So, please, if you’re going to say all lives matter, say black lives matter.”
Bethany Davis said even these messages were not appreciated.
“It’s really no one’s business or ‘job’ to do this on my own page,” she said. “I never asked for any of this, I simply posted a proud moment for our family. How is it anyone’s business to ‘enlighten me’ on my own page? And all lives ARE being put in danger, as evidenced by these messages wishing death on my brother and even my family. Let alone police and other first responders across the states that haven’t done anything wrong.”
The incident is another small reflection on the deep societal divides and tensions that have recently been brought into sharp relief across the country — including right here in Oregon.
Nearly a week of unrest, demonstrations and sometimes-violent protests have rocked the nation’s capital and many cities following the murder of George Floyd, a black man who died at the hands of former Minneapolis police officers during his attempted arrest.
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