An animal rights group denied claims of co-opting Black Lives Matter catchphrase, while protesting in the meat section of a grocery store, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
The allegations of appropriation stem from the store manager of Festival Foods in Madison, Wisconsin, who called the police Saturday after protesters prevented customers from buying meat by singing and chanting in front of the meat section.
The manager told the police the protesters were yelling “murder” and “cows’ lives matter,” according to a separate State Journal report. The manager says the group staged a similar protest last Thanksgiving.
“They were at Festival Foods around Thanksgiving, chanting 'Turkey lives matter,'" said Madison Police Department spokesman Joel DeSpain.
There were no citations or arrests. “An officer advised them that they were not welcome back into the store and could be cited for trespass if they returned," DeSpain said.
Direct Action Everywhere Madison, the group behind the protest, posted a statement on their Facebook page denying the accusations.
“It is important that we communicate, in no uncertain terms, that we believe such acts of appropriation are wrong. Such acts of appropriation are hurtful and offensive, and we are mortified to have been falsely accused of engaging in them,” they wrote.
The group also released what they referred to as “unedited” video footage of last week's protest. The protesters can be seen singing and holding signs but neither video showed them using the controversial chants.
The group also posted second video showing the Thanksgiving protest.
DeSpain responded to the Facebook message by saying the information the department received is based on witness testimony.
“It’s possible this was the witness’s sense of the protest and that they got [the exact wording] wrong,” he said.