President Joe Biden blamed law enforcement for fueling “distrust” in minority communities in his proclamation declaring Peace Officers Memorial Day and “Police Week.”
Peace Officers Memorial Day, May 15, honors all of the fallen law enforcement officers, as well as Police Week to remember all of the sacrifices from officials and their families across the country.
The president’s statement released Saturday expressed “gratitude for the selfless public servants who wear the badge,” but included a lengthy paragraph raising concerns about the “distrust” that police had created.
The statement read:
This year, we also recognize that in many of our communities, especially Black and brown communities, there is a deep sense of distrust towards law enforcement; a distrust that has been exacerbated by the recent deaths of several Black and brown people at the hands of law enforcement. These deaths have resulted in a profound fear, trauma, pain, and exhaustion for many Black and brown Americans, and the resulting breakdown in trust between law enforcement and the communities they have sworn to protect and serve ultimately makes officers’ jobs harder and more dangerous as well.
In order to rebuild that trust, our State, local, and Federal Government and law enforcement agencies must protect constitutional rights, ensure accountability for misconduct, and embrace policing that reflects community values and ensures community safety. These approaches benefit those who wear the badge and those who count on their protection.
Biden’s statement shows how committed his administration is in raising the cause of the Black Lives Matter movement in every aspect of government, even while honoring law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
Former President Obama made subtle references to improving police relations with their communities in his 2015 and 2016 statement but focused on the “special kind of courage” it took to be a police officer.
So too former President Donald Trump rejected attempts to criticize law enforcement in his Peace Officer Memorial Day statements, demanding more respect for officers when recalling the fallen.
“We must continue working toward a time when all people respect and understand the important work that law enforcement officers do,” Trump wrote in his 2020 statement. “Unfortunately, our law enforcement officers do not always receive the respect they deserve.”