Did Police Enforce ‘Worst Parts’ of Black History?
New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton spoke out on the uneasy history of African Americans and the police during a speech he gave to a mostly African American audience at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York as part of Black History Month observances.
According to DNA Info, Bratton tied the systemic racism with the role police played during slavery, enforcing the rights of slave owners who demanded return of their “runaway” property.
“Slavery, our country’s original sin, sat on a foundation codified by laws and enforced by police, by slave catchers,” Bratton said.
The police commissioner also said that in New York the history of police and Black citizens have been intertwined ever since Dutch settler Peter Stuyvesant came to New Amsterdam.
Bratton said that one of the first things that Stuyvesant did was creating a police force. Then, Bratton said, he used slaves to build the colony.
“Since then, the stories of police and Black citizens have intertwined again and again,” he said. “The unequal nature of that relationship cannot and must not be denied.”
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