The Brief: 12 is a numerical reference to cops, or more specifically, narcotics officers.


12 is a colloquial identifier for cops. Specifically, it can be used in reference to the DEA. The slang term for police is commonly used with an f-bomb in front of the phrase like in the Quavo song “F**k 12.” Like with ACAB, when people use 12 to refer to the police force, they usually are making a negative assertion regarding the violent history of policing in the United States.

There is some debate as to why the term 12 refers to police and where it came from. One common explanation is that it is shorthand for “10-12,” a police radio code. The term 12 is widespread and its place origin is often cited as Atlanta.

12 On Twitter

Many Twitter users have taken the popular phrase, “F**k 12” and have paired it along with their Twitter names to make a bold statement.