Black law enforcement officers in America find themselves in a unique position as the country continues to have national conversations about the undervaluing of Black lives, police brutality toward Black people and what the police departments of the future will look like in terms of both funding and function.
Many say they sympathize with protesters across the country demonstrating against police brutality following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others at the hands of police. Some have even knelt in full uniform with protesters in a show of solidarity. But at the same time, they are also confronted with the fact that some have strong feelings of animosity towards police, even in the very communities where the officers live or grew up. It's a struggle that Black officers say has been going on for a long time but is now being amplified amid the protests and national reckoning on race the country is having. And it's one that Black officers continue to wrestle with as they strive to both be a force for good and fight against racial discrimination both within and outside their department while navigating police culture and its history of prejudice.
Today on AirTalk, Larry Mantle is joined by a panel of local Black law enforcement professionals, both current and retired, to reflect on the ongoing national conversations and how they see the state of the relationship between law enforcement in Southern California and the Black community.
Rashad Sharif, senior lead officer with the Los Angeles Police Department Community Engagement Group, a unit responsible for liaising with different communities across the City of Los Angeles to facilitate dialogue, community engagement, and long-term problem solving on issues of community police relations; he has been with the department for 31 years
Dion Ingram, detective with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and vice president of the Black Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles