As a family member of a victim of a summary execution at the hands of law enforcement officers, I was outraged when reading an article in Blacks in Law Enforcement of America where individuals who are alleged to be New Rochelle and Mt. Vernon Police officers are comparing the Black Lives Matter movement to hate groups.
In the article an individual who is alleged to be a police officer named Chris Stigs says that the acronym BLM doesn’t stand for Black Lives Matter but in fact stands for burglary, larceny, murder and how a Black Lives Matter march in New Rochelle was and I quote “a joke of a protest” but he was paid well. He also went on to say “it’s fine to be anti-police but be 100% about it. Don’t call the police when your world is in disarray to help deal with the worst 10 minutes of your life, figure it out yourself or better yet call Shaun King civil rights activist and BLM movement supporter.
When an officer makes a statement which unfairly or incorrectly places people into the same category; it’s called bias, and that is something that individuals who swore an oath to serve and protect need not have. They should not be influenced by personal feelings or opinions and by doing so I the average civilian cannot believe that I will be treated fairly if stopped by this type of officer.
No one is debating whether or not all lives matter because they do, but Blacks are 2.5 times as likely to be shot by law enforcement officers which are according to a real live data base launched by the Washington Post in January 2015 not to mention we are only 13% of the population so police lives matter, all lives matter, but Black lives matter too.
As one of the founders of the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform committed to building trusting relationships between law enforcement and the communities these types of comments are divisive, counterproductive and do nothing more than cause disagreement or hostility between law enforcement and the community; and until we realize that it is going to take both sides working together to affect positive change it will only get worse.
The question we have to ask now is what happens next? Should these officers be disciplined or by doing so do you violate the officer’s First Amendment right? I am no legal expert but after doing research, I have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t violate the officer’s right and they have a responsibility as a person who serves the public trust. This means you should in no way make comments that can be considered to be disparaging, harassing, threatening violence or expresses bias or disrespect towards any race, gender, sex, or religion. If these departments have no policy in place, there needs to be, but that doesn’t mean that these officers should not be held accountable and at the very least suspensions are warranted.
“The effectiveness of a city’s police department depends on the perception in the community that it enforces the law fairly, evenhandedly, and without bias . . . If the department treats a segment of the population of any race, religion, gender, national origin, sexual preference, etc., with contempt, so that the particular minority comes to regard the police as oppressor rather than protector, respect for law enforcement is eroded and the ability of the police to do its work in the community is impaired.”Papps v. Giuliani, 290 F.3d 143(2nd Cir.2002