A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from June 05, 2020
“All Coppers Are Bastards” (ACAB)

A chanted jingle—“I’ll sing you a song / And it wont take long [or: It’s not very long] / All coppers are bastards”—has been cited in the United Kingdom since at least 1945. “ACAB” (All Coppers Are Bastards) was printed in the Ottawa (ON) Journal on May 20, 1970.

“All cops are bastards” was printed in the Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer on June 7, 1971. Green’s Dictionary of Slang (2011) records, “1979 Slime [title] A.C.A.B. (All Cops are Bastards).” “Well, yellow is ACAB, All Cops Are Bastards” was printed in The Globe and Mail (Toronto, ON) on April 30, 1988. ”ACAB All Cops Are Bastards” was entered in the Urban Dictionary on March 24, 2004.

“ACAB” is sometimes represented as “1312” (A=1, B=2, C=3). “#acab #1312” was posted on Twitter by Ben McFly on March 17, 2009. “1312” was entered in the Urban Dictionary on January 29, 2011.

Both “ACAB” and “1312” went viral during the 2020 protests and demonstrations against police brutality and racism in policing following the death of George Floyd. “ACAB” was the Urban Dictionary Word of the Day on May 30, 2020. “1312” was the Urban Dictionary Word of the Day on June 2, 2020.

“ACAB” also stands for “All Communists Are Bastards.”


Wikipedia: A.C.A.B.
A.C.A.B. is an acronym meaning “All Cops Are Bastards”. It is used as a slogan and written catchphrase in graffiti, tattoos, and other imagery. It is sometimes numerically rendered as “1312”, after the alphabetic order of the letters. The slogan is associated with dissidents subjected to political persecution and police brutality.

The term refers to the police as an institution, and does not necessarily reflect upon the individual law enforcement officer. Its use is a response to police actions that have historically been seen as abusive, obnoxious, corrupt, and vindictive.

Background
Director Sidney Hayers used the phrase as the title of his 1972 crime drama All Coppers Are..., and the Dictionary of Catchphrases states that while the initialism — later seen in 1977 by a Newcastle journalist written on the walls of a prison cell — may be no older than the 1970s, the full phrase may date back as far as the 1920s.
(...)
Used by anarchists, and punks the phrase garnered wider mainstream attention in 2020 as a result of the killing of George Floyd and the protests that ensued following his killing.

Newspapers.com
20 May 1970, Ottawa (ON) Journal, pg. 1, col. 6:
‘ACAB’ Motto An Insult Either Way
HAVANT, England (CP)—Graham Johnson, 17, was brought into court Tuesday for wearing the letters ACAB on his denim jacket.

Johnson said he had copied it off the clothes of a Hell’s Angels from London, who told him it meant “all Canadians are bums.”

But the policeman testified the letters are a common sartorial abbreviation for “all coppers are bastards.”

Newspapers.com
7 June 1971, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “What ‘The Cop’ Lacks in Sex It Makes Up For in Gunfire” by Jack Lloyd, pg. 20, col. 7:
There is no subtle message there. The moral is “all cops are bastards,” but the message is delivered with such hate and exaggeration that it can’t be considered a valid indictment.

IMDb (The Internet Movie Database)
All Coppers Are… (1972)
1h 27min | Drama | June 1972 (UK)
A young policeman and a small-time crook are both involve with the same girl.
Director: Sidney Hayers
Writer: Allan Prior (original screenplay)
Stars: Martin Potter, Julia Foster, Nicky Henson

Newspapers.com
29 April 1974, The Guardian (London, UK), “Women help hunt for bombers” by Sue Whittaker, pg. 1, col. 6:
Both his arms and his hands are tattooed. On his left arm there is a swallow, and on the back of his left hand there are the initials IRA and ACAB (all coppers are bastards) and an Irish shamrock.

15 July 1977, New Statesman (London, UK), “Picked Up on the Picket Line” by Denis MacShane, pg. 81, col. 3:
He also explained what the initials ACAB scrawled everywhere on the cell walls stood for.

‘All coppers are bastards,’ he told us as he lurched to the cell door to shout more abuse at a policeman passing down the corridor.

30 April 1988, The Globe and Mail (Toronto, ON), “NEW NAZIS OR OLD HAT?” by Ian Brown, pg. D5, col. 1:
“Well, yellow is ACAB, All Cops Are Bastards.”

Google Books
Youth Work and Working Class Youth Culture:
Rules and Resistance in West Belfast

By Norman Gillespie, Tom Lovett and Wendy Garner
Buckingham, UK: Open University Press
1992
Pg. 144:
The acronym ACAB ( All Cops Are Bastards ) seemed to be sprawled on almost every available space.

Urban Dictionary
ACAB
All Cops Are Bastards
A.C.A.B
punks write it on stuff
ACAB is true
by sex March 24, 2004

OCLC WorldCat
Acab : all cops are bastards
Author: Carlo Bonini; Mondadori,
Publisher: Torino : Einaudi, 2009.
Series: Einaudi Stile libero., Big.
Edition/Format: Print book : Italian

Twitter
Ben McFly
@we1rdo
Ist wieder einmal ratlos aufgrund der erfahrenen Repression. #acab #1312
Translated from German by
Is once again at a loss due to the experienced repression. #acab # 1312
5:45 PM · Mar 17, 2009·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
Ed Ange-Carg
@EdAca
Coppers say whats wrong with you
come and see what we can do
Next thing I was in a cell
My mates in there aswell
ACAB All cops are bastards
4:46 PM · May 4, 2009·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
carl laubscher
@jozihooligan
Acab = all cops are bastards
1:47 AM · Sep 26, 2009·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
Terence
@TerenceCBS
1312 - ACAB
7:39 AM · Aug 15, 2010·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
LuebscherJung
@Marcy1919
Happy A.C.A.B. around the world!!! #1312 #ACAB #Police #Polizei #Weihnachtsmann #MickeyMouse #Cop #Football #World
6:02 AM · Dec 13, 2010·Twitter for iPhone

Oxford Reference—Green’s Dictionary of Slang (2011)
a.c.a.b. in 224......... phr. [abbr.; a popular tattoo in the UK, esp. among Hell’s Angels and other ‘outlaw’ groups]
all coppers are bastards.
1979 Slime [title] A.C.A.B. (All Cops are Bastards).
1982 The 4 Skins ‘ACAB’ [lyrics] Hangin’ around with my mates one night / We got in a little fight / Geezer come with a knife in his fist / I got cut along with the rest, said – / ACAB ACAB ACAB / All cops are bastards.
1984 (ref. to 1945) Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 11/2: since, at latest, 1945.
2000 98 Mute [Internet] Plow: What is your favorite song on your album and briefly explain what the lyrics mean? Jason: A.C.A.B. Plow: What does that mean? Justin: All Coppers Are Bastards.

Urban Dictionary
1312
The numerical representation of A.C.A.B. or All Cops Are Bastards.
Why kill cops? 1312!
#acab#pig#oi#punk#copkiller#antifa
by Elvis Aaron Pol Pot February 05, 2011

Wikipedia: ACAB – All Cops Are Bastards
ACAB – All Cops Are Bastards is a 2012 Italian drama film directed by Stefano Sollima.

Google Books
The Concise New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (Second Edition)
Edited by Tom Dalzell and Terry Victor
New York, NY: Routledge
2015
Pg. 10:
all coppers are bastards; all coppers are cunts serves as a catchphrase among certain sections of society. From, or possibly the inspiration for, a chanted jingle: “I’ll sing you a song / And it wont take long [or: It’s not very long] / All coppers are bastards.” The original phrase has certainly been in circulation since about 1945. UK, 1945

Urban Dictionary
MAY 30 WORD OF THE DAY
acab
all cops are bastards. this trend has started in a attempt for people to see how unfair the black community is treated in the eyes of the law.
R.I.P trayvon #acab
by 183838837/78-9/98/): May 09, 2020

Twitter
ً✿
@dykemicah
“but not all cops-“ ACAB ACAB ACAB ACAB. ALL cops are bastards.
4:47 PM · May 27, 2020·Twitter for iPhone

Twitter
Tay - BLM
@Tbritz98
ACAB ≠ All Cops Are Bad
ACAB = All Cops Are Bastards
Great explanation by @/hieronymun on tik tok
11:50 AM · May 31, 2020·Twitter for iPhone

Urban Dictionary
JUN 2 WORD OF THE DAY
1312
1312 means “All Cops Are Bastards”. The numbers represent the alphabetical letters ACAB.
1312 is often found on t-shirts.
#1312#1213#acab#cops#bastards
by apollofirin January 29, 2011

Urban Dictionary
acab / 1213
acab means all cops are bastards. why? because all cops are bastards by killing innocent people who didn’t do anything.
and 1213 means acab but the numbers represent the letters of the english alphabet to make acab
*people protesting*:
ACAB! ACAB! ACAB!
acab / 1213 !

#acab#police#riot#blm#love
by Cakéy friend June 05, 2020

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military/ Religion • Friday, June 05, 2020 • Permalink