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Seattle’s Police Union President Has A Message All Cops Should Hear

There’s no room for biases in this police union. Don’t like it? Leave.

image via (cc) flickr user clappstar

When it comes to questions of race and bias in law enforcement, many were surprised to hear FBI Director James Comey speak so candidly on the subject while presenting at Georgetown University this past week. There, Comey reportedly talked about the need for police officers to "understand the people we serve and protect — by trying to know, deep in our gut, what it feels like to be a law-abiding young black man walking on the street and encountering law enforcement.” It’s a speech that can been seen in part as a response to the growing chorus of criticism leveled at law enforcement following the deaths of unarmed black men like Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Mike Brown, and for many concerned about the frequently fraught relationship between police and minority communities, it’s a welcome step in a positive direction. But while Comey’s speech may have been the national headline-grabber, this past week saw another law enforcement leader speaking just as frankly–if not more so–about those same concerns.

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The North Miami Beach Police Department was caught using the mugshots of black people for target practice at a shooting range, but the North Miami Beach Police Department would like you to know that this has nothing to do with race. If you perhaps suspect that this has everything to do with race, the North Miami Police Department police chief says that this is standard practice, even though most law enforcement agencies use commercially produced images. The North Miami Police Department insists that these photos, all of black men, are vital for facial recognition drills. How else would a police officer reocognize the face of a criminal if he didn’t know what one looked like?

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The Absurdist Theatre of the NYPD

When NYPD officers turned their backs on de Blasio, they also turned their backs on us.

NYPD officers turned their backs on New York City mayor Bill De Blasio at Officer Rafael Ramos' funeral. Photo by Flickr user Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916.

By now, you’ve likely heard the story of how Ismaaiyl Brinsley—who once testified in a Georgia court that he suffered from mental illness—began the morning of December 20th. He entered his ex-girlfriend Shaneka Thompson’s apartment in Baltimore County using a key he wasn’t supposed to have, then shot and critically wounded her. A trip on a Bolt Bus and several chilling posts to Instagram later, Brinsley ambushed two NYPD officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, killing the men as they sat in their squad car eating lunch, before turning his weapon on himself.

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