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 have, since their inception, consistently taken an active stance against police brutality, racially discriminatory practices in law enforcement, and other instances of social injustice that bring both division and discredit to our chosen profession. It is with this in mind that we lend our support to the leadership and members of the St. Louis Ethical Society of Police in their stand against systemic racism in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
While there is certainly no intent to blemish the service of the many men and women of that agency who, undeniably, struggle each and every day in their efforts to be in direct alignment with what law enforcement should stand for – the protection of people, their human rights, their dignity, safety and rights as an American citizen – all must recognize and accept that the actions and comments of some of its members, to include the leadership of their union, rests solidly on the very foundation upon which our profession was established.
The institution of policing has been inherently biased against people of color and low-income and was specifically designed to be that way. This in no way should be interpreted as saying that all law enforcement officers are racists, but must be accepted as an acknowledgement and understanding that there are amongst us those who utilize the power and might of their position to perpetuate racial profiling, police misconduct, excessive use of force, and unethical, unprofessional behavior where it concerns communities of color.
Even the membership of the International Association of Chiefs of Police has publicly apologized “for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color.”
When the institutions and leadership that are sworn to protect us choose to act and speak in discriminatory and racially divisive tones, it does nothing less than perpetuate the narrative that police are racists, with no regard, acknowledgement, respect or understanding of the issues and concerns of both the communities of color that they are paid to serve, and those officers of color whose honorable history of service extends for nearly two centuries, having played a significantly pivotal role in the scheme of police-community relations, even while their services, impact and accomplishments have been largely ignored by their professional counterparts.
The commitment of the more than 9,000 members of our association towards strengthening the bonds between law enforcement and the communities we serve, ensuring their exercise of the right to be free from any form of social injustice, and to specifically include systemic racism in the application of justice, demands our support for the Ethical Society of Police. Our oath to serve all equally, with fairness, honor, dignity, and the assurance of equal justice for all requires no less.
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.