The history of Black injustice began long before now and sadly, it still thrives in our society.
On Monday, the law enforcement body made a move to smoke the peace pipe with the terrorized Black community of the United States. But unexpectedly, the head of the national police showed remorse for the various cases of Black injustice in the past. The question now the minds of many is; “what of the racial mistreatments of now?” We managed to put together some interesting facts and opinions from following news outlets:
THE HUFFINGTON POST
The president of the largest police organization in the country issued an apology on Monday to communities of color for the Black injustice treatment they have suffered at the hands of law enforcement officers.
Terrence Cunningham, the police chief of Wellesley, Massachusetts, delivered the apology during a speech at the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention in San Diego. The IACP includes 23,000 police officials from across the United States, The Washington Post reports.
— Kristen Saloomey (@KSaloomey) October 17, 2016
“We must forge a path that allows us to move beyond our history and identify common solutions to better protect our communities,” Cunningham said. “For our part, the first step in this process is for law enforcement and the IACP to acknowledge and apologize for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color.”
“There have been times when law enforcement officers, because of the laws enacted by federal, state and local governments, have been the face of oppression for far too many of our fellow citizens,” he continued. “In the past, the laws adopted by our society have required police officers to perform many unpalatable tasks, such as ensuring legalized discrimination or even denying the basic rights of citizenship to many of our fellow Americans.”
— blicqer™ (@blicqer) October 18, 2016
“This dark side of our shared history has created a multigenerational ― almost inherited ― mistrust between many communities of color and their law enforcement agencies,” said Police Chief Terrence Cunningham. Read more.
ATLANTA BLACK STAR
“While we obviously cannot change the past, it is clear that we must change the future,” he said. “We must forge a path that allows us to move beyond our history and identify common solutions to better protect our communities.”
“For our part, the first step in this process is for law enforcement and the [International Association of Chiefs of Police] to acknowledge and apologize for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color,” Cunningham added.
While the police chief’s bold apology addressed past Black injustice practices on the part of law enforcement, leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement and other notable Black activists have remained less than enthusiastic. Cunningham’s remarks come at a time when cities like Ferguson, Missouri; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and St. Paul, Minnesota are still grappling with the after-effects of police violence against Black men. So right now, activists say they only want to see justice and actual policing reforms — not an apology.
“The problem is that police continue to enforce racist and discriminatory laws and policies,” said Constance Malcolm, whose 18-year-old son, Ramarley Graham, was shot dead by a cop in his Bronx home in 2012, the New York Daily News reports.
“They continue to abuse us every day and they are never held accountable,” Malcolm added. “Until we see officers doing real jail time for murdering and abusing Black and brown people, and real changes in the way the police treat us, this kind of statement is meaningless.”
Black Lives Matter activist and Campaign Zero co-founder DeRay Mckesson said he hoped to see Cunningham’s apology backed up by deep, structural changes to policing and America’s criminal justice system, according to the Associated Press.
National director for the Chicago-based Black Youth Project 100, Charlene Carruthers, also weighed in, saying the police chief’s apology doesn’t go far enough. Carruthers said one way to begin solving the issue is to strip law enforcement agencies of their financial resources and directing funds back into community programs.
Some activists — including those who’ve been directly affected by police violence — thought Cunningham’s apology came a bit too late, but acknowledged it was a small step in the right direction.Read more.
Video of IACP president Chief Terrence Cunningham’s remarks on historical mistreatment of minorities by police https://t.co/UPMlcpAiz0
— Doug McVay (@dougmcvay) October 17, 2016
His statement comes in the wake of heightened concern over the relationship between U.S. police forces and minority communities. These tensions have been put in the spotlight following a series of highly publicized civilian deaths during police actions across the country, which have triggered impassioned responses and protests.
Civil rights leaders, including representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, as well as the Rev. Al Sharpton, welcomed Cunningham’s remarks, reports the Post. However, the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents more than 300,000 U.S. law-enforcement officers, criticized Cunningham’s speech.
The order’s national president Chuck Canterbury told the Post, “Apologies do not adequately address the current issues facing law enforcement and the communities that we serve.” Read more.
‘I think it’s an asinine statement’
Delrish Moss, who has been police chief of Ferguson, Mo., since May and is black, said he had negative encounters with police when he was growing up, including being called racial epithets.
“There are communities that have long perceived us as oppressors, there are communities that have long perceived us as the jackbooted arm of government designed to keep people under control, and that’s one of the things we have to work hard to get past,” Moss said. “I’m glad it’s being addressed … because the only way to get past it is to first acknowledge the existence of it.“
Charlene Carruthers, national director for Chicago-based BYP100, said an apology didn’t go far enough. She said a major step would be taking financial resources away from law enforcement and redirecting them to community-based programs.Read more.
A mere apology without proper police reforms means nothing! Moreover, an apology cannot bring back the thousands of innocent Black lives lost at the hands of law enforcement officers. Is this a form of political apology? Do the police actually mean it? Are there truly remorseful for their actions? Then why don’t they apologize for the current tension in the country as a result of police brutality against Black people? Black injustice isn’t a problem to solve with a mere apology. There is a need for racial justice.