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Saturday , October 20 2018
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Tag Archives: black lives matter

El Paso Police Chief Responds, Explains Statements on Black Lives Matter Movement

In the aftermath of last week’s attacks on Dallas police officers, El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen commented on the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, characterizing them as a radical hate group.  In the days following, local leaders wrote a letter to the Mayor and City Council to “publicly repudiate the statement, forcefully and unequivocally.”

Chief Allen’s comments have now gone viral, with national attention now being focused on the chief, his statements and local reaction. On Monday, Chief Allen released the following statement:

The remarks I shared after Friday’s press conference were made during an emotional time, I hope everyone can respect that. I am a police officer first and foremost and it truly pains me any time an officer is killed. As Police Chief, the most difficult part of my job has been to notify wives, mothers, fathers and children that their loved one has been killed. I have had to bury five officers during my tenure and I will never forget their faces.

Having to endure that and hearing and seeing the negative actions that are taking place at some “Black Lives Matter” events truly disturb me. For example, in New York City, the protestors were chanting, “What do you want?” and the response was “dead cops.” At another protest in Minnesota, the protestors were chanting “pigs in a blanket fry them like bacon.” In Harlem and in Dallas “Black Lives Matter” supporters were cheering after police officers were killed. Is anyone stepping up and condemning or even attempting to stop these activities or this kind of rhetoric? NO! These actions directly and indirectly influence people looking to take part in negative activities. Our City supports the initial cause for the creation of “Black Lives Matter” but we do not support violence in any shape or form.

Our police forces need to know they have support and wanting “dead cops” is not acceptable. I grew up in the 60’s when racial tension was at its height and Martin Luther King was marching and NOT condoning violence in any manner. What is going on today is wrong! I work very hard to ensure accountability among my officers, our discipline boards include police administration as well as civilians. We do not accept negative actions on the parts of our officers and have put procedures in place to protect our community members as well as our officers.

Now is the time to mourn the loss of the police officers and the individuals that have fallen as part of the tragic shootings across America. There needs to be discussion and scrutiny of the real issues to better address this situation

El Paso Leaders Condemn Police Chief’s Remarks on Black Lives Matter

After El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen called Black Lives Matter a “radical hate group,” 13 area leaders called on the mayor and city council to repudiate his comments.

Allen made the claim after a press conference of El Paso law enforcement officials on Friday. Allen didn’t speak at the conference, but afterward a reporter asked him what he would say to Black Lives Matter supporters who have planned a vigil for victims of police shootings on Sunday.

“Black Lives Matter, as far as I’m concerned, is a radical hate group,” Allen said. “For that purpose alone I think the leadership of this country needs to look a little bit harder at that particular group. The consequences of what we saw in Dallas is due to their efforts.”

Late Saturday, several state officials and local groups issued a letter calling for El PasoallenQt Mayor Oscar Leeser and the city council representatives to “publicly repudiate the statement, forcefully and unequivocally.”

“This statement, in the chief’s official capacity and in uniform, sends exactly the wrong message at a time when good people are working to address a crisis of violence and distrust that disproportionately affects minority communities,” the letter read in part.

Signees included local Democratic lawmakers U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke; state Sen. José Rodríguez; state Reps. César Blanco, Joe Moody and Mary González; County Judge Veronica Escobar; representatives for the NAACP and ACLU; and Evelina Ortega, who is expected to win the Texas House District 77 seat in November.

The Tribune could not reach Allen or Leeser for comment.

In an interview with the El Paso Times, O’Rourke said Allen’s comments maligned the organizers of Sunday evening’s planned vigil, which is set to be hosted by the Black Student Union at the University of Texas at El Paso and the El Paso chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

“One thing that causes me concern is that the chief of police in our community has identified a group of El Pasoans — who want to peacefully protest at San Jacinto Plaza on Sunday — in part responsible for the death of the officers in Dallas,” O’Rourke said. “I think that sets up a very troubling and unnecessary dynamic between the police and some of the people in this community.”

Allen, El Paso’s first African-American police chief, has led the force since 2007 and has previously criticized what he sees as undue scrutiny of police officers. In 2008, he removed the department’s requirement that officers involved in a shooting take a polygraph test afterwards. In a 2011 interview with the newspaper the El Paso Inc, he said that “mistrust of the officer” could cause police to hesitate in high-stakes situations.

In 2013, officer Jose Flores shot and killed a handcuffed man, Daniel Saenz, at the El Paso County Jail. A grand jury declined to indict Flores. He was later fired from the force. Saenz’s family filed suit against the city for violating constitutional rights, but the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the case in February.

Author:  – The Texas Tribune