The head of the nation’s largest police organization formally apologized on Monday for “historical mistreatment” of racial minorities by police and called on officers to work with minority groups to improve trust.
The statement was notable in an era of nationwide protest and activism over police shootings and heightened fear among officers over violent retaliation against them.
Speaking in San Diego at the annual conference of the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police, Terrence Cunningham said that officers “cannot change the past” but “must change the future” when it comes to how they relate to minority groups.
In his short speech, which drew a standing ovation at the San Diego Convention Center, Cunningham avoided mentioning protests over recent police shootings in Charlotte, N.C., and elsewhere by name, and also did not mention targeted killings of police officers over the summer in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La.
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