Dated: Monday March 15, 2021
As a body of men and women of color employed as criminal justice practitioners, the members and Board of Directors of the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc. (NABLEO) have, since their inception, consistently taken an active stance against racially discriminatory practices in law enforcement, and other instances of social injustice that bring both division and discredit to our chosen profession, and has continually sought to create stronger, positive relationships between law enforcement and the community it serves, seeking to make the administration of justice more even-handed.
It is with these concepts in mind that we lend our support to Sergeant Les Jones of the Rutgers University Police Department, and take serious issue with the current attempts to terminate this 23-year veteran of the agency. The results of numerous empirical studies, with the most recent published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes in April of last year, have proven, without any degree of doubt, that Black law enforcement officers are disproportionately disciplined, causing them to lose promotions, loss of pay, and become subjected to both continuing harassment and retaliation from supervisors and other agency managers. Thus, it is no surprise that even after having been cleared of charges by not less than three (3) totally independent investigations, to include the Essex County Prosecutors Office, the Rutgers University Police Department still attempts to terminate a Black officer who has had absolutely NO previous disciplinary record.
The attempts to terminate Sgt. Jones can only be viewed as an act of active, systemic racism, and appears to be a disciplinary action far more severe than that which has been provided to White officers charged with more serious and egregious offenses.
As 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, we find it to be abhorrent and unfortunate that the administration of the Rutgers University Police Department has chosen to disregard the determinations of not only the Essex County Prosecutor but their own internal and human resources investigators who found no reason for disciplinary actions to be taken. Instead, they have obviously, and very blatantly, trumped up a set of charges simply and solely to rid themselves of a Black face. Shredding papers, paying bills and writing poetry during duty hours are simply not sufficient grounds for termination in any professional law enforcement setting.
The National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc., our Board of Directors, and our nearly 9,000 members across the nation will continue to closely monitor the disciplinary proceedings as they relate to Sergeant Jones, and will take any necessary actions needful upon their conclusion.
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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