US police file "false beard" ban lawsuit
Every time you think, you weaken the nation —Moe Howard
Friday, May 22, 2015, 13:05 (UTC)
29 November 2007
A GROUP OF POLICE OFFICERS in Texas have filed a lawsuit arguing that a ban on wearing false beards is "not fair GODDAMMIT!". The officers are suing Houston and its police department after they were disciplined for wearing false beards, and so violating the strict ban.
The department imposed the ban in 2005, saying "it is hardly appropriate for officers of the law to be engaging in their duties whilst wearing, in effect, joke beards". The ban was in response to the increase in officers wearing false beards and, in some cases, even false beard, nose and spectacle combinations.
The ban was later extended to include "all joke shop paraphenalia" after the use of non-standard "stink bombs" instead of CS gas during a botched hostage rescue led to the deaths of seven civilians and three police officers. Despite this the complainants say the ban is unfair on those who "have a very shallow sense of humour."
Two of the plaintiffs, Sgts Shelby Stewart and Kenneth Perkins, said they continued to wear false goatees because they have no other avenue by which to "have a laugh". They said more than 100 other policemen in the department suffered from such a shallow sense of humour and "needed the comedy outlet that false beards provided".
Sgt Stewart, who has been on the force for 326 years and wearing a pink and orange beard, told the Houston Chronicle newspaper: "you can't tell me that I don't look like a complete tit, can you? I mean, is this not funny? well, ISN'T IT GODDAMMIT FUNNY!?"
The ban comes just two years after the department forbade the use of water pistols as a standard police issue side-arm.