Opinion | My Police Union Holds Bad Cops Accountable
This week in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, a veterans officer killed an unarmed man and claimed to have mistaken her gun for her taser. The Ethical Society of Police, a St. Louis group composed mostly of black officers, was quick to comment on the shootings, provoking the policeman’s negligence and openly criticizing attempts to classify them as accidents.
How is it for some officers who find themselves in both Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter after such high profile shootings? In the video Op-Ed above, Lt. Cheryl E. Orange, a longtime member of the Ethical Society of Police, how her organization puts morals and ethics above blind loyalty, even when most traditional police unions continue to defend their officers, no matter what. Sometimes this means publicly condemning one’s own members, however painful that may be.
The Ethical Society of Police was established in 1972 to combat racial discrimination within the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. It is open to all officials. Don’t be afraid to speak of high-profile cases of police misconduct in St. Louis and other cities. Lieutenant Orange argues that when police unions appear to stand behind their officers regardless of their behavior, it undermines public confidence in the prosecution and creates a “us versus them” dynamic. As she says in the video, “The union should lean on what is right, not what is loyal.”
Cheryl E. Orange is a lieutenant in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. She served as a police officer for over 30 years. She joined the Ethical Society of Police in 1990.