Police Unions Are One Primary Problem in Racist American Policing

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[Racial Policing\Police Unions]
Vox: "Police unions...have become the most vocal interest group opposing criminal justice reforms... they have, unlike most unions, been profoundly conservative institutions that uphold a particular white ethnic, “law and order”-focused variant of right-wing politics."
Photo: YouTube

Right-wing police unions (and their bigoted leaders like Michael O'Meara) are a primary problem in changing the racist corrupt nature of American policing.

In the wake of George Floyd’s killing by now-former Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officer Derek Chauvin, few have been inclined to defend Chauvin or his colleagues who stood by and watched as he suffocated Floyd to death.

Few, that is, except Bob Kroll. In a letter to membership, Kroll — the president of the MPD’s police union — referred to protesters outraged by police brutality as a “terrorist movement” and defended the officers who killed Floyd and were subsequently fired, arguing they were “terminated without due process” and lamenting, “What is not being told is the violent criminal history of George Floyd.” (Floyd had a criminal record, but mostly for nonviolent drug and theft charges.)

Kroll’s statements illustrate a central challenge in American efforts to transform policing: Police unions, the groups that represent police officers, are a powerful force that stands in the way of holding police accountable. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told the New York Times that Kroll and his union are a major reason it’s hard to bring order to the Minneapolis Police Department, saying they create a “nearly impenetrable barrier” to reform.

It’s not just in Minneapolis. Around the country, as protesters take to the streets to condemn police violence and demand change, police unions have emerged as the protesters’ most vocal and implacable foe.

In Buffalo, the city’s Police Benevolent Association president John Evans has actively defended officers who pushed 75-year-old protester Martin Gugino to the ground. When the officers who pushed Gugino were seen leaving their arraignment on felony assault charges, a large crowd of police union members and sympathizers was seen cheering them on. In New York State broadly, police unions led opposition to newly signed legislation that prevents police from hiding misconduct complaints and criminalizes chokeholds.

These are hardly aberrations.

Police unions in general have become the most vocal interest group opposing criminal justice reforms and especially reforms to police discipline and use of force. Historically, they have, unlike most unions, been profoundly conservative institutions that uphold a particular white ethnic, “law and order”-focused variant of right-wing politics. They have been among Donald Trump’s most fervent allies; Kroll spoke at a Trump rally in 2018, and the International Union of Police Associations has already endorsed Trump for reelection.

For the rest of this Vox story log on to:https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/21290981/police-union-contracts-...

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