One group of “Black Lives Matter” protesters in the San Francisco Bay area has summarily dismissed efforts by three regional police unions to initiate “constructive dialogue.”
Responding to Wednesday’s call from the Oakland Police Officers Association and police unions in San Francisco and San Jose for “constructive dialogue that calls for a common sense approach to very complex issues,” Mike Wilson, a member of Occupy Oakland’s Demilitarize the Police Working Group, said Thursday, “Let’s get police officers’ unions and other spokespeople to acknowledge there’s a problem, and maybe we can have a constructive dialogue.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Wilson explained that there was a “a real culture of racism among police officers.” He added that suspects who had died at the hands of police in Ferguson, Mo.; Staten Island, N.Y., Cleveland, and Oakland–and where police were not indicted–“all have been people of color.”
The police union leaders’ statement earlier in the week confronted the “Black Lives Matter” protesters and their supporters, acknowledging that the protests had been “a legitimate expression of our First Amendment traditions,” but adding that “the vilification of front-line public servants by some politicians and media pundits has been demoralizing and unjust … too often the legitimate expression of views has devolved into vilification and violence against this nation’s front-line public safety servants.”
The union leaders pointed out that some protesters in New York have chanted for police to be killed.
Wilson had earlier claimed that the statement was an attempt by police to use the shooting of two New York policemen to invalidate what the protesters were doing. The San Jose Mercury News reported Wilson that said, “The fact that one person who was very unstable and had a criminal background a mile long killed two police officers doesn’t mean the protest movement has devolved into anything other than it was a few weeks ago: A demand for accountability for police officers.”