Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Editorial: A Police Apology to Minorities Is Not Magic, but a Good Place to Start Healing

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Editorial: A Police Apology to Minorities Is Not Magic, but a Good Place to Start Healing

Article excerpt

Relations between police and residents of minority communities across America are tense as shootings and deaths on both sides generate increasing media attention. An apology from the head of one of the nation's largest police organizations for the profession's role in the historical mistreatment of minorities is a bold attempt to reset the conversation and create a new environment of trust.

Terrence Cunningham, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, said last month that he hopes all involved can work together to break a "multi-generational almost inherited mistrust" between minorities and police.

Powerful words from the Wellesley, Mass., chief of police and head of the IACP, whose members include 23,000 U.S. police chiefs and senior law enforcement officers from dozens of countries. Cunningham's statement at the group's annual conference in San Diego comes amid heightened concern over perceived overreaction, especially in police-involved shooting cases where the victim was unarmed.

The shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014 was a pivotal moment in police-community relations. Subsequent shootings have inflamed tensions, triggered protests and increased mistrust. The history of policing is filled with examples of bravery, self-sacrifice and service, Cunningham said, but the darker periods must be acknowledged to begin healing.

Fellow chiefs gave Cunningham a standing ovation, but the Fraternal Order of Police, representing more than 300,000 law enforcement officers, said apologies do not adequately address the current issues facing law enforcement and the communities they serve. …

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