A Black councilwoman in Norfolk, Virginia rubbed a local sheriff the wrong way when she poked holes in the honesty of the justice system.
The Virginian-Pilot reported Angelia Williams Graves spoke of the undercover racists within police departments and in courtrooms at an annual NAACP luncheon Oc.t 1.
In a speech, Graves said bigots of today removed their white cloaks and hoods in exchange for “police uniforms, suits and ties and robes.”
One white sheriff told the newspaper he and other officers found the connection to the Ku Klux Klan insulting. “I wouldn’t have expected that from a city leader,” said Norfolk Sheriff Bob McCabe, who attended the meeting.
Although he realized racism runs throughout law enforcement, McCabe added “lot of this anti-law enforcement sentiment has crossed the line.”
Graves – whose remarks about judges and cops excluded local officials – wanted to call for a change in reactions to racist acts.
The councilwoman explained the remarks were focused on lawmakers and cops who enforce laws. They also called out the judges who bring down biased sentences against African-Americans.
Because of Graves’ statement, McCabe said some officers thought about walking out of the event. He also discussed the problem with stereotyping any group.
“Just like not every young African-American with dreadlocks or whatever is out there committing crimes,” he told the newspaper, “The majority of the policemen are out there doing the right thing.”
But Graves explained the prejudiced police force is the reason why Black people are deemed criminals.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for the job that police officers do, and they are people just like everybody else,” Graves said. “But all of them are not right, and when one of them does something stupid and racist, it makes all of them look bad.”
The councilwoman said police hiring practices need to change and officers should receive coaching on engaging with Black society.
“Until you can experience the other side of law enforcement as a Black man, don’t tell me about your offense,” she added.