St. Louis is more racially segregated than many of us ever truly understand. Even the police officers in the city have separate organizations advocating on behalf of white and black interests
When Jeff Roorda and the predominantly white St. Louis Police Officers Association came out with a statement to blast the pre-game “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture done by five players from the St. Louis Rams and declared that they should be fined, suspended, and offer an apology, it was wrongly assumed by many that Roorda spoke for all of the police in St. Louis. He did not.
The black police officer’s association in St. Louis issued a bold statement declaring their complete support for the players. Gloria McCollum, general counsel for their association, just issued the following statement, which you can read below the fold, on their behalf:
THE ETHICAL SOCIETY OF POLICE, is the primary voice of African-American Police Officers in St. Louis City, and as such it COMPLETELY SUPPORTS THE ACTIONS OF THE ST. LOUIS RAMS FOOTBALL PLAYERS IN WHICH THEY SHOWED SUPPORT FOR THE FAMILY OF MICHAEL BROWN BY ENTERING THE STADIUM WITH THEIR HANDS UP.
We think that their actions were commendable and that they should not be ridiculed, disciplined or punished for taking a stand on this very important issue which is of great concern around the world and especially in the community where these players work.
THE STATEMENTS OF THE ST. LOUIS POLICE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION DO NOT REFLECT THE OPINIONS OF THE MAJORITY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN POLICE OFFICERS IN THE DEPARTMENT BECA– USE THERE ARE NO AFRICAN AMERICAN OFFICERS ON THEIR GOVERNING BOARD AND THEY HAVE A MINIMAL AMOUNT OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MEMBERS.
The Ethical Society of Police has been the primary bridge between the African American community and the police department for many years. The Ethical Society will use its best efforts to continue to work with the community leaders and the Department of Justice to address issues that affect our community such as racial profiling, police brutality and disparities in hiring and disciplining practices of African American Officers.
While it is often widely assumed that black and white officers feel the same about issues of race and police brutality, it is clear that this is not the case in St. Louis and that the divide between officers there echoes the deeper divide in the city itself.
-Tamara El (@_SheWise_)