Blacks In Law Enforcement of America (BLEA) is a national organization of Black Law Enforcement Professionals. Our mission is to address law enforcement policies and procedures that adversely affect the poor and communities of color.
The Shooting of Mount Vernon, New York Detective Christopher Ridley in 2008, Pace University Student Danroy Henry in 2010, Kenneth Chamberlain of White Plains 11/19/11, Herve Gilles of Spring Valley 12/14/11, Duane Brown of Brooklyn 1/12/12, and Ramarley Graham of the Bronx shows us there is a critical need for dialogue for more oversight and policy review of Use of Force policies within the state of New York.
BLEA applauds President Obama for recently expressing his concerns over the killing of Trayvon Martin of Florida. As Black Law Enforcement Professionals, it is our opinion that our President is right on point by stating: “my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.
As Black Law Enforcement Professionals we face this challenge every day. When an incident of questionable police shootings and police brutality happens in the communities we serve; we either know the victim, we know someone who knows them or the victim is a family member. BLEA believes that there is a systemic pattern of biasness that exists in the institution of law enforcement. There has been many studies that concur on the issue of racial biasness playing a factor in a law enforcement officers decision to shoot or don’t shoot a subject.
Our United States Attorney General Eric Holder stated clearly that we should not be “Cowards” of having dialogue of the role that race plays in the institutions and the very fiber of this country. There is no police department in the United States that is not immune. Because there is no true accountability, in New York State alone, there have been 204 questionable deaths by the hands of law enforcement since the death of Amadou Diallo in 1999.
To this end, Blacks In Law Enforcement of America has introduced a free pamphlet and an online seminar recording entitled “How do you survive Police Confrontation.” It is imperative that every parent teach their children how to act whenever their confronted by law enforcement. We now live in a time that what our children say or do when confronted by law enforcement can put themselves in a life and death situation. Knowledge is Power. The purpose of this pamphlet is to empower the parents and children with a plan of action when confronted by law enforcement.
As a law enforcement organization, we understand that educating our families is not enough. It will take more conversation, dedication and legislation from our elected officials. It is imperative for our elective officials, especially our black elected officials to publicly express their outrage and concerns. Like our President, other Black elected officials must have the testicular fortitude to stand up and address the need for oversight and accountability. It’s time for true dialogue amongst our local, state and federal elected officials regarding law enforcement’s use of force policies, training of officers and investigations of complaints into questionable actions by Law Enforcement Officers.
Our Black elected officials must realize that they are not immune to the chance that the next young man who is killed might be their close friend or family member. The only way to truly address this disease is to pass local, state and federal legislation for oversight of law enforcement’s use of force policies, training of officers and independent investigations of complaints of questionable actions by officers.
With the recent wave of police incidents in many of the big sites of the United States. It has shed a bright light that doesn’t matter if you’re a star college student, law enforcement officer, professor, US Marine Veteran or just a young man walking home with a bag of skittles and Ice Tea, as long as you skin is dark, there is no restraint for representative of law enforcement to not to pull the trigger and label it Justifiable Homicide.
Damon K. Jones, BLEA, NEW YORK