It’s rare that an actual police department doubles as a city’s Fashion Police too, but that’s exactly what happened in Madrid, Spain, on Sunday night. Belén Lobeto, a graphic designer, was walking home when she was stopped by two officers and told that she was about to get fined, all because of the tote bag that she was carrying.
The black bag that grabbed the cops’ attention has a picture of a cat below the letters A.C.A.B., an acronym that, according to the tote, means “All Cats Are Beautiful.” Even though there was clearly a screenprinted feline staring at them, the officers accused Lobeto of insulting them, insisting that A.C.A.B. stood for “All Cops Are Bastards.” (A British punk band, the 4-Skins, wrote a song called “A.C.A.B.” in the early 1980s, which popularized that particular anti-police acronym).
Lobeto wrote on Facebook that she tried to reason with the officers, presumably telling them to LOOK AT THE CAT on her bag and then maybe read the words underneath the acronym.
“I asked why [I was being fined] and expressed doubt that my bag was attracting any attention, much less causing a crime,” Lobeto wrote. She said she told the officers that they were “punishing the acronym,” not her bag. She also said she refused to sign the citation.
— Belén Lobeto (@LobetoVonKatzen) May 22, 2016
Lobeto did not say what kind of fine she could be facing, but Spain apparently doesn’t take kindly to those four letters. In July 2015, a girl was fined more than €600 (about US$678) for wearing a shirt that had A.C.A.B. printed on it — and the officers confiscated her shirt! (At least Lobeto got to keep her tote bag).
Stay strong, our feline-loving friend. All cats ARE beautiful.