Philadelphia Police unions across the country have largely supported President Donald Trump’s re-election, amid mass demonstrations against police brutality and accusations of systemic racism – but a number of black law enforcement officers have spoken out against the endorsement, saying their concerns about entering the 2020 political battlefield have been ignored .
Trump has expressed support for the law enforcement community, which includes endorsements from unions of state, city and state officials – some of which have publicly endorsed a political candidate for the first time. He is working on what he calls a “law and order” platform and benefits from a A strain of anger and frustration is felt by law enforcement Those who believe they are unfairly accused of racial discrimination.
There are more than 8,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States, with large departments having influence nationwide. The number of minority officers in policing has doubled in the past three decades, but many departments still have a smaller proportion of black and Latino officers compared to the proportion of the general population that makes up these societies.
Several fraternal organizations of the black police were formed to defend the Equality within police departments But also to focus on how law enforcement affects the wider black community. There have often been tensions between minority organizations and larger unions, as in August, when the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers issued a letter condemning the use of lethal force, police misconduct and abuse in communities of color.
While support for the current Republican does not strictly align with racial lines, many black officers say support for Trump does not fairly represent all of the members who pay the dues.
Rochelle Bilal said, “We are members of these unions, and they don’t take into account our feelings about Donald J. Trump, then they don’t care about us and … they don’t care about our entitlements.” Former head of the Guardian Civilian League in Philadelphia, describing Trump’s support for the Fraternal National Police as “outrage.”
Bilal, who was elected As the first black mayor in Philadelphia Last year, I spoke at a press conference in early October with other black law enforcement groups in Philadelphia to condemn Trump’s endorsements and the process they say ignores their concerns about what they perceive as racist statements, support for white supremacist groups and a lack of respect. For the women of Trump.
But national union leaders say the process is designed to give everyone a voice and support is the majority of officers. The Fraternal Police System represents approximately 350,000 officers nationally, but does not track ethnic demographics.
“I am a black American and a black police officer,” said Rob Pride, the National Brothers Medal for Chief of Police Secretaries. “It has been an emotional rollercoaster ride for me since the George Floyd incident. It was horrific.”
Pride, who is overseeing the vote that leads to presidential endorsement for the organization, he says May 25, police kill Floyd In Minneapolis the political climate is “tearing America apart” and has a similar effect on FOP.
National FOP leaders said they have heard from members disagree with endorsing Trump – and are open to talking about concerns – but all 44 fraternal police chapters who cast their vote voted for Trump. Pride said the whole process starts locally, with the hostel submitting polls answers to candidates and ballots and then voting at a statewide meeting. Then the state delegates voted at the national meeting.
“We’ll probably have an hour-long conversation about why some people feel President Trump is a racist and why others disagree. But there are a lot of officers of all races of all backgrounds who feel he best represents and supports law enforcement interests,” he said.
At the local level, police reform laws are paid Protests over police brutality in the wake of Floyd’s murder It has also sparked local union support for candidates for government office at even higher rates this year – some of whom have ratified for the first time in decades. While many union leaders say support is not based on political parties, they have been largely directed at Republicans challenging candidates who voted for what unions call “anti-police” reform bills.
The president of FOP Lodge 5 in Philadelphia, John McKennesby, said in a statement that the group, which represents 6,500 members, had not won endorsement in the presidential race and had reverted to the support of its parent association. But members said that despite being the state’s largest inn, they were not given a chance to vote or be counted by the state or national delegates.
Denouncing the approvals, The Guardian Civic League has asked its 1,200 members to prepare to withdraw their dues from the national FOP, as has the Club Valiants of Philadelphia – an organization of more than 500 minority firefighters – from 22 locally based International Firefighters and Paramedics Federation . With Trump’s endorsement, Local 22 split from its parent organization, which supported Democrat Joe Biden.
Valiants leaders said the Local 22 endorsement was based on poll responses from about 500 of the union’s 5,000 members. Local union leaders said a questionnaire was being sent to re-survey members in response to the backlash, and its endorsement would be reviewed if necessary by the end of the month.
“The election is on November 3, and people there are voting now. What are you going to do to cancel the support days before the election?” Said John Illam, a Philadelphia firefighter and member of the Valiants. We want a fair process. We wanted a fair process from the start. “
In New York City, Patrick Lynch – president of the Police Charity Association that represents around 24,000 officers – declared the union’s endorsement of Trump. At the Republican National Convention in August, Something will happen that members said they didn’t receive any warning. An unsigned letter from the Guardians ’Association said the black and minority officers the group represented were shocked by Lynch’s endorsement and wished the union remained neutral.
Lynch said it was the union’s first presidential endorsement in at least 36 years.
“That’s how important this is,” Lynch told the audience at an event at the Trump Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. “You won this.”
During the presidential debate in September, Trump identified places where he felt he had support from law enforcement. He said, “I have Florida, I have Texas, and I have Ohio.” “Excuse me Portland, the sheriff is just there today and he said, ‘I support President Trump.'”
That sheriff – Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Rees. Quickly go to Twitter to decline any support.
Terence Hopkins, president of the Dallas Black Police Association, said a handful of officers have left the largest union in the Dallas Police Department, partly motivated by his support for Trump, and joined his organization.
Many of these officers feel they are not being taken into consideration. Many of the problems driving them to that border point are on ethnic lines, said Hopkins, a 30-year-old veteran officer. “And it’s not just here. I got a call from some black officers in Kansas City, Missouri, who wanted to join my organization because they don’t have any other outlet and they don’t feel like an actor.”
Associated Press writer Susan Hay in Hartford, Connecticut, and Colin Long in Washington contributed to this report.
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