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Action Called For Regarding Comments and Attitudes of Philadelphia Police Officers

Dated: Monday April 06, 2009

The Board of Directors and General Membership of the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, of which the Philadelphia Guardian Civic League and Cops and Citizens for Justice are member chapters, are appalled at what can only be perceived as the violently racist and outrageously discriminatory comments of Officer Bill Thrasher of the 22nd Police District as reported by Ms. Shannon McDonald of the Temple University School of Communication and Theater, Department of Journalism in her article titled Black and Blue.

We find this attitude to be both abhorrent and completely unacceptable for one who is sworn to not only protect and serve the community, but by your own agency standards has failed to adhere to even a mere modicum of courtesy consistent with that which characterizes professionalism in law enforcement personnel.

As well, we find it highly irregular and beyond the pale of belief that his supervisor finds no fault in Officer Thrashers behavior. This consequently leads us to believe that these attitudes are intrinsically embedded in the behaviors and training of officers such as these, and perceivably the cultural makeup of the agency, making them not only a discredit to their uniform but, ultimately, a clear and present danger to both the community and the many hard-working, honest, and professional police officers providing service to the citizens of their community.

We stand with the Guardian Civic League, Cops and Citizens for Justice, and others in the Philadelphia community who ask for the immediate termination of Officer Thrashers employment with the Philadelphia Police Department, and a full, open and thorough investigation of the actions of his supervisor in this matter. Moreover, we are prepared to join them in mass protest of this issue.

While we recognize that the attitudes exhibited by Officer Thrasher and his supervisor are not indicative of the entire membership of the Philadelphia 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 his fellow law enforcement officers, both black and white.

We further strongly suggest and recommend that a full, complete and comprehensive reassessment of the levels and strengths of current training, both initial and in-service (if any), conducted in areas of diversity and cultural awareness be made, as it appears evident from the attitudes of these officers that such training is both lacking and devoid of substance.

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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