— A police union president and a Tennessee sheriff are urging police to be more respectful of the “whites” during a time when “black lives” are being lost and police are increasingly under attack by protesters and activists.
The Black Lives Matter movement began as a response to police killings of unarmed black men in the U.S. and the death of Trayvon Martin, a Florida teen.
A grand jury decided in July to not indict the officers involved in Martin’s death, but instead recommend an independent investigation into their actions.
Black Lives Matters activists say that’s not enough and they want the government to take action to improve policing practices.
The Nashville Police Officers Association and its local chapter of the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers released a statement Monday urging police officers to be respectful of all communities and to show restraint in their interactions with the public.
They said that if they feel threatened or feel like they are being targeted, they should call 911 and inform the local authorities.
They also said that the officers need to respect their constitutional rights to free speech, free assembly and peaceful assembly.
“In this time of intense stress, a person’s life is more important than their personal safety,” said Robert Loeffler, president of the Nashville Police Association, in a statement.
“A person’s First Amendment rights must be respected.
We cannot continue to allow our officers to lose their jobs over this issue.”
A recent incident that drew national attention was a protest against the killing of Tamir Rice, a 13-year-old Cleveland-area boy who was shot and killed by police on July 12, 2014.
In a statement, the National Rifle Association condemned the police actions and called on police to respect the rights of all people.
“Black lives matter, and we urge law enforcement officers everywhere to stand with those who support and protect them,” said NRA President Chris Cox.
“Police officers are the lifeblood of our communities.
They protect and serve our communities with their lives and their lives matter.”