TIME Law

Police Group Apologizes for U.S. Law Enforcement’s Role in ‘Historical Mistreatment’ of Minorities

IACP president Terrence Cunningham hopes that all sides can work to "break this historic cycle of mistrust"

The head of a major, U.S.-headquartered group representing senior police worldwide has acknowledged and apologized for law enforcement’s past actions and role in America’s “historical mistreatment” of minorities.

Terrence Cunningham, who heads the police force of Wellesley, Mass., made the apology as president of the nonprofit International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). The Washington Post reports that the apology — made during the group’s convention in San Diego — was on behalf of the organization, whose members include 23,000 U.S. police chiefs as well as senior officers from dozens of countries across the globe.

Cunningham reportedly spoke of “multigenerational — almost inherited — mistrust” between U.S. minorities and police. According to the Post, he said that the first step in “changing the future” of that relationship was “for law enforcement and the IACP to acknowledge and apologize for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color.”

He also noted that “those who denounce the police must also acknowledge that today’s officers are not to blame for the injustices of the past,” and concluded, the Post said, by hoping that all sides can work together to “break this historic cycle of mistrust and build a better and safer future for us all.

The Post reports that Cunningham’s speech received a standing ovation by IACP members at the meeting.

His statement comes in the wake of heightened concern over the relationship between U.S. police forces and minority communities. These tensions have been put in the spotlight following a series of highly publicized civilian deaths during police actions across the country, which have triggered impassioned responses and protests.

Civil rights leaders, including representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, as well as the Rev. Al Sharpton, welcomed Cunningham’s remarks, reports the Post. However, the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents more than 300,000 U.S. law-enforcement officers, criticized Cunningham’s speech.

The order’s national president Chuck Canterbury told the Post, “Apologies do not adequately address the current issues facing law enforcement and the communities that we serve.”

[Washington Post]

Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


YOU BROKE TIME.COM!

Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team