Universal Studios temporarily denies entrance to patron who wore 'retired police officer' shirt

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Universal Studios temporarily denies entrance to man for wearing 'retired police officer' shirt

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A retired Florida law enforcement officer was temporarily denied entrance to Orlando's Universal Studios for nearly an hour earlier this month because his gray, long-sleeved shirt read "retired police officer."

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Vincent Champion, 55, a 22-year law enforcement veteran of the Ormond Beach Police Department who retired in 2009, told Fox News he was stopped by theme park officials Nov. 1 when he attempted to enter Universal Studios during a Halloween Horrors Night themed event.

Champion was wearing a T-shirt that read "retired police officer" on the front, and the phrase, "My time in uniform is over, but my watch never ends" on the back, according to Fox News. The shirt also had a design containing a skull with a blue line through it, representing police, the network reported.

"I have never been treated this badly,'' Champion told the Orlando Sentinel. "It's usually quite the opposite."

In a statement, officials at Universal Studios said they have tremendous respect for law enforcement, but they said they were concerned guests might have confused him for an actual police officer, according to The Associated Press.

One bystander offered Champion his shirt, which the retired officer put on, the AP reported. However, Champion was told he could not carry his own shirt into the park.

"The wonderful group of people behind us lost their minds as we stood in shock," Holly Bickel, who accompanied Champion to the theme park, wrote on Facebook. "They explained how disrespectful they were being to someone who puts their life on the line to protect people and could not believe they were treating him this way for a shirt.

"They then gave Vince an expensive Columbia shirt and thanked him for his service," Bickel wrote. "Vince then went to change shirts. While still standing in line, (the park official didn't explain to him that he needed to put the shirt in the car and cannot take the shirt into the park."

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