U.S. police chiefs group apologizes for ‘historical mistreatment’ of minorities

Terrence M. Cunningham, president of America’s largest police management organization, issued a heartfelt apology Monday to the nation’s minority population “for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color.” The apology, made at this year’s convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, comes as police executives struggle with tense relationships between police officers and minority groups. Many representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP applauded Cunningham’s statement as a “very significant admission.” Civil rights activist, Al Sharpton, welcomed the apology, but said he hoped Cunningham would “urge officers around the United States to back his words up with action and legislation to protect communities of color from the onslaught of police misconduct that has disturbed the country…words are important but action is integral.” This public admission, coming from someone holding such a high rank within law enforcement, is especially meaningful because many police organizations (the National Fraternal Order of Police, to name one) have been reluctant to even begin to grapple with the racial issues that are clearly a systemic problem in our nation. Policing is a very difficult and often thankless job, made all the more challenging when officers are distrusted in their communities. This admission represents a bold first step; opening the door to beginning a conversation that will hopefully lead to repairing some of the trust lost between minority groups and the police. This trust will take time to rebuild. As the saying goes: trust is deposited a nickel at a time, and withdrawn in hundred dollar increments.  Read the full article here