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Grand Rapids Police Officers Association uses William Barr’s comments in an attempt to silence critics

March 9, 2020

“Being a police officer is more difficult than it’s ever been before, One reason is the emergence of a deeply troubling attitude towards police in some parts of our society. Far from respecting the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect us, it is becoming common in some quarters to scapegoat the police … and disparage the vital role played by law enforcement in our society.”   US Attorney General William Barr

The above statement from William Barr, is from a speech he gave at the International Association of Chiefs of Police event in Miami at the end of February.

The GRPD police union, the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association, liked so much what Barr had to say, they posted a Fox News story about the speech in late February on their Facebook page.  

That’s right, the police union in Grand Rapids is using the words of William Barr as a defense against any criticisms of the GRPD. Let’s be clear, William Barr is a man who has been complicit in the criminal actions, the fear mongering and the white supremacy of the Trump administration since he became the US Attorney General in February of 2019.

Yet, the GRPD union feels it’s necessary to use the words of a man who protects the White House from being prosecuted for criminal behavior. Put another way, you have the top lawyer in the nation, who protects Trumps crimes, telling the Association of Police Chiefs that we should not tolerate any criticism of police.

On top of that you have the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association holding up Barr as a great defender of law & order, which is rather ironic, considering that the GRPD union has in recent years gone after anyone – elected officials, community groups, social movements – that have challenged the harassing, intimidating and violent actions of the Grand Rapids Police Department.

It is well known that the GRPD has targeted black and brown youth in recent years, pulling guns on these young people, have engaged in racial profiling, have been caught on video beating residents and have gone out of their way to harass, threaten, intimidate, spy on groups like Movimiento Cosecha GR and GR Rapid Response to ICE.

Despite the well documented practices of the GRPD using violence and intimidation against communities of color, the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association has the audacity to use Barr’s comments in an attempt to silence critics. If the cop union doesn’t want people to be critical of their actions, then it might be time for the GRPD to stop harassing, intimidating, traumatizing and brutalizing people of color in this city.

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