As the silent protest of former NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has taken a new life and a new narrative, police unions, and law enforcement fraternal organizations are still dumb deaf and blind to why this all started.
Kaepernick took a knee to make a silent statement on the continuous questionable shootings of black and brown men and women by police throughout the nation.
As a national organization of Black Law Enforcement Professionals, we were the first law enforcement organization to announce our support for Kaepernick and the first to announce our protest boycott of the NFL in response to the blackballing of Kaepernick. We supported Kaepernick and the boycott because of the understanding of the deep-rooted racism in that exist in our criminal justice system and our local police departments.
In response to the recent LOHUD article Police Unions asking NFL agencies to sit at the table. It’s our opinion that Union Presidents should first allow members of the black communities that they claim to serve to sit at the table before they think about sitting with NFL players or owners.
Historically, police unions have opposed civilian-based police oversight initiatives and policies like Civilian Complaint Review Boards (CCRB) and body cameras. Out of Westchester’s 43 municipalities, there is not one active CCRB because elected officials are afraid to be labeled anti-police by the unions.
As Black Law Enforcement Professionals, we have even witnessed police unions turn a blind eye when Black Officers are in plain clothes of off-duty assaulted, shot, shot at or killed by white officers in all effort to protect the rights of one but not the other.
We do believe that it is time for honest and open conversation. The fact of the matter is; the conversation is long overdue. We give credit to Yonkers PBA President Olson for recently participating in a community forum hosted by WESTCOP. Other than Olson there has been no real dialog from Police Unions Presidents and the black community on issues of police brutality and oversight throughout the state of New York. Unfortunately, even Black Law Enforcement Union Presidents have been AWOL on honest discussions of criminal justice issues.
We officially challenge all Law Enforcement Union and Fraternal Organization Presidents to partner with local organizations like the NAACP, Urban League or WESTPAC to have community forums in the communities they serve and discuss police brutality, oversight, and implicit bias and how to build a better relationship with law enforcement and the community they serve.
Damon K. Jones
New York Representative
Blacks In Law Enforcement of America