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Opinion: “Police officers need to treat all of our citizens with respect,” FOP president says

Hundreds of people gathered for a Solution Movement peaceful march and protest in front of the Beavercreek Walmart Saturday, June 13, 2020. E.L. Hubbard for the Dayton Daily News
Hundreds of people gathered for a Solution Movement peaceful march and protest in front of the Beavercreek Walmart Saturday, June 13, 2020. E.L. Hubbard for the Dayton Daily News

Credit: E.L. Hubbard

Credit: E.L. Hubbard

Note from Community Impact Editor Amelia Robinson: On Wednesday, June 10, a column from Ideas and Voices frequent contributor Steven Conn critical of the Fraternal Order of Police was published in the Dayton Daily News. Conn wrote about how his son, who is white, views racial injustice against black people at the hands of police. His son has a negative impression of police as a result.I have left messages for members of the Dayton Fraternal Order of Police and the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council seeking comment concerning discussions and protests that have arisen in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.I have not heard back from the Dayton FOP and the Ohio FOP declined to comment.This statement regarding George Floyd’s death was released by Patrick Yoes, the president of the National Fraternal Order of Police, on May 28.

Our thoughts and prayers today are with the friends and family of Mr. George Floyd, whose tragic death shocked and horrified our nation.

Law enforcement officers are empowered to use force when apprehending suspects and they are rigorously trained to do so in order to have the safest possible outcome for all parties.

Based on the bystander’s video from this incident, we witnessed a man in distress pleading for help. The fact that he was a suspect in custody is immaterial — police officers should at all times render aid to those who need it. Police officers need to treat all of our citizens with respect and understanding and should be held to the very highest standards for their conduct.

The FOP has full confidence in our criminal justice system. This incident is being investigated by multiple law enforcement agencies. The officers are reportedly cooperating with investigators and we must ensure that justice is served, whatever the consequences.

President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion with law enforcement officials, Monday, June 8, 2020, at the White House in Washington. Seated with Trump are Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, left, and Pat Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion with law enforcement officials, Monday, June 8, 2020, at the White House in Washington. Seated with Trump are Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, left, and Pat Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

I do not believe this incident should be allowed to define our profession or the Minneapolis Police Department, but there is no doubt that this incident has diminished the trust and respect our communities have for the men and women of law enforcement. We will work hard to rebuild that trust and we will continue to protect our communities.

The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest law enforcement labor organization in the United States, with more than 351,000 members.