Yesterday, I received a noteworthy text message from a friend, Gloria McCollum, a formidable attorney from St. Louis who represents The Ethical Society of Police, the largest organization of African-American law enforcement officers in the state of Missouri. McCollum was exasperated – and for good reason.
The Ethical Society – and McCollum — were outraged after the St. Louis Police Officers Association, a predominantly white group, demanded that the NFL and the St. Louis Rams discipline five African-American players who used the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” pose in support of 18-year-old Michael Brown, shot to death by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri this summer.
The St. Louis County prosecutor’s office announced last week that it will not indict Wilson for the fatal shooting generating protests across the country. Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt were unfairly criticized by the St. Louis Police Officers Association who said the five players offended police officers across the nation.
“Now that the evidence is in and Officer Wilson’s account has been verified by physical and ballistic evidence as well as eyewitness testimony, which led the grand jury to conclude that no probable cause existed that Wilson engaged in any wrongdoing, it is unthinkable that hometown athletes would so publicly perpetuate a narrative that has been disproven over-and-over again,”
Jeff Roorda, a business manager for St. Louis Police Officers Association, said in the statement. Roorda and the group want an apology. Nonsense. I’m glad that Black cops in St. Louis are steadfastly supporting the Rams players for taking such a public stand.
“We think that their actions were commendable and that they should not be ridiculed, disciplined or punished for taking a stand on this very important issue which is of great concern around the world and especially in the community where these players work,” according to a statement by The Ethical Society.
I share McCollum and The Ethical Society’s outrage and I’m glad the NFL and the Rams announced that they will not punish the players for what amounts to freedom of speech and expressing their concern in a society where black men are being racially profiled and killed by police at an alarming rate. As McCollum pointed out in her text message, the issues regarding race and police are broad, disproportionate and unjust.
“I often have officers that complain about the disparities in the way they are disciplined as opposed to white officers,” McCollum told me. “They also say they are not being promoted for supervisory positions for which they qualify. I bring these issues to the attention of those in charge in hopes that they will work with the Ethical Society to resolve as many as possible.”
COMMENTARY: No Apologies – St. Louis Rams Players Protest Brown Shooting was originally published on blackamericaweb.com