cloudyn.png
Thursday October 29th, 2020 12:39AM

Black officers break from unions over Trump endorsements

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Police unions nationwide have largely supported President Donald Trump’s reelection, amid mass demonstrations over police brutality and accusations of systemic racism — but a number of Black law enforcement officers are speaking out against these endorsements, saying their concerns over entering the 2020 political fray were ignored.

Trump has touted his support from the law enforcement community, which includes endorsements from national, city and state officers’ unions — some of which publicly endorsed a political candidate for the first time. He’s running on what he calls a “law and order” platform and tapping into a strain of anger and frustration felt by law enforcement who believe they are being unfairly accused of racial discrimination.

There are more than 8,000 law enforcement agencies in the U.S., with large departments holding sway nationally. The number of minority officers in policing has more than doubled in the last three decades, but many departments still have a smaller percentage of Black and Hispanic officers compared to the percentage of the general population those communities make up.

Many fraternal Black police organizations were formed to advocate for equality within police departments but also to focus on how law enforcement affects the wider Black community. There have often been tensions between minority organizations and larger unions, like in August, when the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers issued a letter condemning use of deadly force, police misconduct and abuse in communities of color.

While support for the Republican incumbent does not strictly fall along racial lines, many Black officers say the endorsements for Trump don’t fairly represent all dues-paying members.

“We are members of these unions, and they don’t take into consideration our feelings about Donald J. Trump, then they don’t care about us and ... they don’t care about our dues,” said Rochelle Bilal, the recent past president of the Guardian Civic League of Philadelphia, calling the National Fraternal Order of Police's Trump endorsement an “outrage.”

Bilal, who was elected as Philadelphia’s first Black female sheriff last year, spoke at at an early October news conference with other Black law enforcement groups in Philadelphia to condemn Trump endorsements and the process they say ignored their concerns over what they perceived to be racist remarks, support for white supremacist groups and a lack of respect for women from Trump.

But national union leaders say the process is designed to give everyone a voice and the endorsement represents the majority of officers. The Fraternal Order of Police represents close to 350,000 officers nationally, but does not track racial demographics.

“I am a Black American and a Black law enforcement officer," said Rob Pride, the National Fraternal Order of Police chair of trustees. “It’s been emotionally a rollercoaster ride for me since the George Floyd incident. It was horrific.”

Pride, who oversees the vote that leads to the organization's presidential endorsement, says the May 25 police killing of Floyd in Minneapolis and the political climate “is tearing America apart” and having a similar effect on the FOP.

National FOP leaders said they have heard from members who don’t agree with the Trump endorsement — and they're open to talking over concerns — but that all 44 state Fraternal Orders of Police chapters that cast a ballot voted for Trump. Pride said the whole process starts locally, with lodges passing out candidate survey answers and ballots and then voting at a statewide meeting. State delegates then voted at the national meeting.

"We could probably have an hourlong conversation about why some folks feel President Trump is racist and why others disagree,” he said. “But there are a lot of officers of all races of all backgrounds who feel he best represents and supports the interests of law enforcement.”

On the local level, police reform bills driven by protests against police brutality in the wake of Floyd’s killing have also stoked local unions’ endorsements of candidates for state offices at higher rates this year — some issuing endorsement for the first time in decades. While many union leaders say the endorsements aren't based on political parties, they have largely been for Republicans challenging candidates who have voted for what unions call “anti-police” reform bills.

Philadelphia’s FOP Lodge 5 President John McNesby said in a statement that the group, which represents 6,500 members, did not make an endorsement in the presidential race, and deferred to its parent union’s endorsement. But members said that despite being the largest lodge in the state, they weren’t given a chance to vote or be counted by the state or national delegates.

Denouncing the endorsement processes, The Guardian Civic League has asked its about 1,200 members to be prepared to withdraw their dues from the national FOP, as has the Club Valiants of Philadelphia — an organization of more than 500 minority firefighters — from the Local 22 of the International Fire Fighters and Paramedics Union. In endorsing Trump, Local 22 broke from its parent organization, which endorsed Democrat Joe Biden.

Valiants leaders said the Local 22's endorsement was based on survey responses from about 500 of the union's nearly 5,000 members. Local union leaders said a redo survey is being sent to members in response to the backlash and its endorsement will be revised if necessary by the end of the month.

“The election is Nov. 3, and people are out there voting now. What is it going to do to rescind the endorsement days before the election?” said John Elam, a Philadelphia firefighter and Valiants member. “We want a fair process. We wanted a fair process from the beginning.”

In New York City, Patrick Lynch — the head of the Police Benevolent Association that represents about 24,000 officers — announced the union's endorsement of Trump at August's Republican National Convention, something members said they had no warning would happen. An unsigned letter from the Guardians Association said the Black and minority officers the group represents felt blindsided by Lynch’s endorsement and wished the union had stayed neutral.

Lynch said it was the union's first presidential endorsement in at least 36 years.

“That’s how important this is,” Lynch said to the crowd during an event at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, telling the president: “You’ve earned this.”

During September's presidential debate, Trump ticked off the locations where he felt he had support from law enforcement. “I have Florida, I have Texas, I have Ohio,” he said. “Excuse me, Portland, the sheriff there just came out today and said, ‘I support President Trump.’”

That sheriff — Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese — quickly took to Twitter to deny any support.

Terrance Hopkins, president of the Black Police Association of Dallas, said a handful of officers left the Dallas Police Department’s largest union, partly driven by its support for Trump, and had joined his organization.

“A lot of these officers feel like they aren't being considered. A lot of the issues that push them to that point border along racial lines," Hopkins, a 30-year veteran officer, said. “And it's not just here. I got a call from some Black officers in Kansas City, Missouri, who wanted to join my organization because they don't have any other outlet and they don't feel like they are being represented.”

___

Associated Press writers Susan Haigh in Hartford, Connecticut, and Colleen Long in Washington contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Elections - Political Conventions
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Black officers break from unions over Trump endorsements
Police unions nationwide have largely supported President Donald Trump’s reelection, amid mass demonstrations over police brutality and accusations of systemic racism
8:17AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Conservatives staging free speech rally attacked by critics
A free speech demonstration staged by conservative activists quickly fell apart in downtown San Francisco Saturday after several hundred counterprotesters surged the area and attacked
9:52PM ( 11 hours ago )
Organizers exhort women to vote for change at US rallies
Thousands of mostly young women in masks are rallying in the nation’s capital and other U.S. cities, exhorting voters to oppose President Donald Trump and his fellow Republican candidates in the Nov. 3 elections
9:22PM ( 11 hours ago )
U.S. News
The Latest: Italy honors 179 doctors who died in pandemic
As the Italian government considers yet more restrictions to try to curb the resurgence of coronavirus, the 179 Italian doctors who have died in the COVID-19 crisis were remembered Sunday in a ceremony in the northern Italian town of Duno, north of Milan
8:51AM ( 1 minute ago )
France demonstrations pay tribute to beheaded teacher
Demonstrators in France on Sunday took part in gatherings in support of freedom of speech and in tribute to a history teacher who was beheaded near Paris after discussing caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad with his class
8:44AM ( 8 minutes ago )
France demonstrations to pay tribute to beheaded teacher
Demonstrations around France have been called in support of freedom of speech and to pay tribute to a French history teacher who was beheaded near Paris after discussing caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad with his class
8:23AM ( 29 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Italy OKs $47 billion to counter pandemic's blow
The Italian government has approved 40 billion euros ($47 billion) in new spending to counter the pandemic’s economic blow
6:44AM ( 2 hours ago )
UN arms embargoes on Iran expire despite US objections
A decade-long U.N. arms embargo on Iran that barred it from purchasing foreign weapons like tanks and fighter jets has expired
5:42AM ( 3 hours ago )
Asia Today: Melbourne eases lockdown as cases decline
Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, has loosened lockdown restrictions as new and active COVID-19 continue to decline
4:20AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP National News
Trump changes course, approves California relief for 6 fires
President Donald Trump’s administration has reversed course and approved a previously rejected California application for disaster relief funds to clean up damage from six recent wildfires
11:34PM ( 1 day ago )
Authorities: Top Mexico official helped smuggle drugs to US
U.S. authorities allege that Mexico’s former defense secretary helped a cartel smuggle thousands of kilograms of cocaine, heroin and other drugs into the United States in exchange for bribes
7:40PM ( 1 day ago )
Virus surges in key battleground states as election nears
Rising coronavirus cases in key presidential battleground states are the latest worry for election officials and voters a little more than two weeks before Election Day
5:42PM ( 1 day ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Trump leans into fear tactics in bid to win Midwest states
President Donald Trump is leaning into fear tactics as he accuses the left of trying to “erase American history, purge American values and destroy the American way of life.”
9:30PM ( 11 hours ago )
Carter Center moves voter protection efforts to the US
ATLANTA (AP) — David Carroll has been working with the Carter Center observing and monitoring elections in Third World countries for 30 years.In each of the 111 observations in 39 countries, a f...
6:56PM ( 13 hours ago )
Headwinds for Trump in bid to repeat Upper Midwest victories
President Donald Trump is making a late reelection pitch to voters Saturday in Michigan and Wisconsin, states in the Upper Midwest that were instrumental to his 2016 victory but may now be slipping from his grasp
3:02PM ( 17 hours ago )
AP Elections
Biden outraises Trump $383M to $248M in September
President Donald Trump was outraised by Democrat Joe Biden in September and is being outgunned financially by his rival with just weeks to go until Election Day
10:05PM ( 1 day ago )
Record avalanche of early votes transforms the 2020 election
A record-setting amount of early voting has changed the 2020 election
8:29PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Biden vows racial and economic justice efforts
Joe Biden is promising a sweeping effort for racial and economic justice if he’s elected president
7:23PM ( 1 day ago )
General Election News
Twitter CEO says it was wrong to block links to Biden story
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says the company was wrong to block weblinks to an unverified political story, a move that had prompted cries of censorship from the right
6:46PM ( 1 day ago )
Justices to weigh Trump census plan to exclude noncitizens
The Supreme Court has agreed to take up President Donald Trump’s policy, blocked by a lower court, to exclude people living in the U.S. illegally from the census count that will be used to allocate seats in the House of Representatives
6:02PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Biden: US hasn't 'turned the corner' on virus
Joe Biden is mocking President Donald Trump for suggesting in a Thursday town hall that the U.S. has “turned the corner” in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic
4:23PM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
Avalanche of early votes is transforming the 2020 election
A record-setting amount of early voting has changed the 2020 election
10:35AM ( 1 day ago )
Avalanche of early votes transforming 2020 election
A record-setting amount of early voting has changed the 2020 election
10:30AM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Trump raises $247.8M in Sept., far behind Biden
President Donald Trump’s campaign and Republicans raised $247.8 million in September — better than the month before, but still lagging far behind his Democratic challenger Joe Biden, who raised $383 million over the same stretch
11:15PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
Conservatives staging free speech rally attacked by critics
A free speech demonstration staged by conservative activists quickly fell apart in downtown San Francisco Saturday after several hundred counterprotesters surged the area and attacked
9:52PM ( 11 hours ago )
Organizers exhort women to vote for change at US rallies
Thousands of mostly young women in masks are rallying in the nation’s capital and other U.S. cities, exhorting voters to oppose President Donald Trump and his fellow Republican candidates in the Nov. 3 elections
9:22PM ( 11 hours ago )
Archbishop performs exorcism to cleanse protest site
The archbishop of San Francisco performed a short exorcism ceremony Saturday outside a church where protesters had earlier toppled a statue of Father Junipero Serra
9:04PM ( 11 hours ago )
Rural Midwest hospitals struggling to handle virus surge
Rural Jerauld County in South Dakota didn’t see a single case of the coronavirus for more than two months stretching from June to August
6:38PM ( 14 hours ago )
US resorts adapt to new normal of skiing amid pandemic
Roughly seven months after the coronavirus cut the ski season short at the height of spring break, resorts across the U.S. and Canada are picking up the pieces and trying to figure out how to safely reopen this winter
12:10PM ( 20 hours ago )