Question: What happens when you bring together a group of seasoned African American law enforcement veterans with more than a century’s worth of combined experience working in police departments to discuss the state of policing in the U.S.?
Answer: You get an open, honest and many times blunt assessment complete with first-person narratives of what it’s truly like to be a Black police officer during a time when the country has seen the apparent proliferation of instances of implicitly biased policing. That includes whether they have ever faced an internal conflict of being African American and a police officer and if they ever had to choose to put the badge before Black people.
That conversation took place under the larger backdrop of what has appeared to be a growing number of Black police chiefs who have had to preside over departments that have found themselves at the center of controversial and high-profile shootings of unarmed Black people.
This first of three videos covering the topic of policing Black America features Damon K. Jones, the New York representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America who has worked with the Westchester Department of Corrections for 30 years; Levi Holmes II, a retired lieutenant from the Newark Police Department who served 27 years before retiring in March; Rochelle Bilal, a retired Philadelphia police officer who served 25 years; Crystal Williams-Coleman, a retired Philadelphia police officer who served 32 years; and Charles Wilson, the national chairman of the
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