A group representing St. Louis’ black police officers issued a statement this Monday* standing by five Rams players who entered Sunday’s NFL football game doing “hands up, don’t shoot,” widely perceived as a gesture of support for Ferguson protesters. The African-American group’s support directly contradicts that of the St. Louis Police Officers Association, which issued its own public statement against the Rams and has raised significant financial support for former officer Darren Wilson. The statement appears on the Facebook page of the Ethical Society of Police, which describes itself as “the primary voice of African American Police Officers in St. Louis City,” and according to its Web site, dates its founding to at least 1968. Their statement reads in full:
ST. LOUIS CITY AFRICAN AMERICAN POLICE OFFICERS SUPPORT THE RAMS PLAYERS ACTIONS
The Statements of the St. Louis Police Officers Association does not represent the opinion of a majority of African American Officers.
General Counsel, Attorney Gloria McCollum, on behalf of THE ETHICAL SOCIETY OF POLICE- St. Louis, STATES:
“THE ETHICAL SOCIETY OF POLICE, is the primary voice of African
American Police Officers in St. Louis City, and as such it COMPLETELY SUPPORTS THE ACTIONS OF THE ST. LOUIS RAMS FOOTBALL PLAYERS IN WHICH THEY SHOWED SUPPORT FOR THE FAMILY OF MICHAEL BROWN BY ENTERING THE STADIUM WITH THEIR HANDS UP.
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.
THE STATEMENTS OF THE ST. LOUIS POLICE OFFICERS
ASSOCIATION DO NOT REFLECT THE OPINIONS OF THE MAJORITY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN POLICE OFFICERS IN THE DEPARTMENT BECAUSE THERE ARE NO AFRICAN AMERICAN OFFICERS ON THEIR GOVERNING BOARD AND THEY HAVE A MINIMAL AMOUNT OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MEMBERS.
The Ethical Society of Police has been the primary bridge between African American community and the police department for many years. The Ethical Society will use its best efforts to continue to work with the community leaders and the Department of Justice to address issues that affect our community such as racial profiling, police brutality and disparities in hiring and disciplining practices of African American Officers.
GLORIA J. MCCOLLUM, General Counsel for the Ethical Society of Police, - St. Louis, Misouri
*Post has been updated since publication to correct that the statement issue date was Monday, December 1, not Tuesday, December 2.