Dated: Wednesday May 27, 2020
National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc.
P.O. Box 1182 Newark, NJ 07102
The Grand Council of Guardians, Inc.
P.O. Box 022862
Brooklyn, New York 11202-2862
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Charles P. Wilson, National Chairman
Charles Billups, Chairperson
Grand Council of Guardians
The National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is a premier national organization representing the interests and concerns of African American, Latino and other criminal justice practitioners of color serving in law enforcement, corrections, and investigative agencies throughout the United States, and the communities in which they serve.
As a body of law enforcement professionals we wish to express our dismay at the actions of members of the Minneapolis, Minnesota Police Department as they pertain to the recent death of Mr. George Floyd. The actions and behaviors of the officers involved in this incident were not only abhorrent and inhumane, but all current evidence would appear to indicate they exceeded far beyond any reasonable need for the use of deadly force. And in this one tragic and inhumane event, history has repeated itself and proven yet again that some acts of policing is inherently biased against men and women of color and against low income communities. These uses of excessive and deadly force, acts of misconduct and abuse have now grown to epidemic proportions. And while violent crime may, in fact, be prevalent in these communities, no other areas or neighborhood groupings seem to have been subjected to the sheer numerical instances of the use of deadly force by the police as in the Black community.
The events of the past week in Minneapolis have done nothing less than to feed the perception of an active conspiracy by police targeting people of color. Four officers have now been terminated from their positions. And while the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis asks both the community and others not to “rush to judgment and immediate condemn our officers”, the inhumane treatment of Mr. Floyd can be viewed in no other light except to immediately and affirmatively find these officers guilty as (hopefully to be) charged.
First and foremost, there can be no doubt or argument against the fact that the actions of Officer Derek Chauvin were both reprehensible and illegal. His actions served no useful purpose and have no legitimate place in the service of professional law enforcement. They should, in fact, be strongly considered as evidence and grounds for the immediate conduct of a federal civil rights violations investigation. In no other professional law enforcement setting is it acceptable to kneel on a suspect’s neck for more than five minutes, especially when they are exhibiting signs of medical distress.
We can only presume that Officer Chauvin was intent on sending a message, not only to Mr. Floyd but also, to all others in view. That he was in control.
We must also consider the actions, or inactions, of the other three officers. They are all implicitly involved in Mr. Floyd’s death due to their refusal to act on their sworn oath to protect. Their duty was to protect Mr. Floyd, REGARDLESS of who his assailant was. When you stand by and do nothing, do not speak up when you observe something that your training, conscience and sense of human morality tells you is wrong, illegal, or just plain unacceptable, you are no better than the person who commits the atrocity. The actions of these officers who both actively and covertly supported the inhumane, racist and discriminatory actions of Officer Chauvin do nothing more than create continued fractures in the hard-fought for positive relationships between law enforcement and the community, further posing a clear and present danger to the safety of community members and their fellow law enforcement officers.
The words of Mayor Jacob Frey speak truth to power. “Being Black in America should not be a death sentence.” As members of the community, we can no longer be silent. We can no longer merely watch from the sidelines and let others decide our fates. As members of a profession that, by its very mandate, is required to protect and serve, we must insure that those among us who transgress are stripped of their anonymity and ousted in the most public fashion possible, regardless of who they are and what station they maintain.
While we recognize that the attitudes exhibited by these officers are not indicative of the entire membership of the Minneapolis Police Department, they create continued fractures in the many positive relationships built through community policing efforts, cause irreparable harm to the furtherance of law enforcement services, and have the potential for creating situations of undue and serious harm or injury to community members and law enforcement officers, both black and white.
However, our response must be clear, unambiguous and loud - NO LONGER! No longer will we allow unbridled law enforcement use of excessive force. No longer will we allow the creation and fostering of an atmosphere of racially hostile attitudes and behaviors on the part of officers who continue to place us all at risk because of their ignorance and callous minded behaviors. We must STEP UP, STAND UP and SPEAK OUT.
The National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc, a 501.(c).(3) non-profit, is a premier national organization representing the interests and concerns of African American, Latino and other criminal justice practitioners of color serving in law enforcement, corrections, and investigative agencies throughout the United States, and the communities in which they serve.
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