Stop Turning Your Head: Black Cops Speak Out Against ‘Blanket of Racism’

Former and current African-American cops warn that police agencies will not change and be held accountable until they confront their own internalized racism within American policing. Despite the rising profile of Black police leaders, many are concerned that a systemically racist police culture has actively excluded and persecuted Black officers who speak out against practices that began with the origins of American policing.

Officers have told our researchers about racist incidents in their police departments but lack the infrastructure to say or do anything about it. Until the concerns of Black officers are integrated into discussions about police reform, law enforcement will not be able to eliminate racist elements from their profession.

“I have officers that tell us there’s racism in the HR department, there’s racism in the administrative ranks, but they just can’t say anything about it,” said Howard Henderson, the founding Director of the Center for Justice Research.

Black officers cannot disclose their experiences “without fear of retaliation.”

“That’s the shame of it. That you have a situation where officers cannot disclose their experiences without fear of retaliation.”

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