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The president of the one of the nation’s largest police organizations apologized on Monday “for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color.”

Terrence M. Cunningham, the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), who also leads the Wellesley Police Department in Massachusetts, delivered the following speech at the group’s annual conference in San Diego. In his remarks, he acknowledged the role that police have sometimes played as the “face of oppression” in American history, when the laws they have upheld have not been just ones.

The remarks have been seen as an effort to begin to rebuild trust between law enforcement and minority populations in light of highly publicized fatal shootings of African-American men in North Carolina and Minnesota and police officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas within the last six months.

Here is Cunningham’s speech in full:

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