The response occurred during a closed-door meeting between the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Following controversial comments Donald Trump made during a recent speech to police officers on Long Island, NOBLE spoke out against the 45th POTUS, saying how his comments could possibly deepen the division between cops and minorities, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.
“We are not thugs. We are professionals. We fully expect law enforcement around the country to behave as professionals,” Perry Tarrant, president of NOBLE, said. Tarrant, who also serves as assistant police chief in Seattle, also told Sessions that “the potential harm of off-the-cuff comments like those made by the president have in detracting from the legitimacy [of police], and detracting from the trust that local law enforcement and communities have.”
Cedric Alexander, deputy mayor of Rochester, New York, past national president of NOBLE, and a member of President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, also spoke out against Trump’s comments.
“We feel we have to fall back and start over again,” Alexander said. “When you’re trying to build trust and you hear that type of inference coming from the commander in chief of this country, it creates a certain anxiety and fear.”
Although Sessions did not directly address Trump’s remarks he did briefly speak on fatal shootings by police officers.
“We all know the cases of the last several years where, in confrontations with police, lives have been cut short,” Sessions said. “Just as I am committed to defending law enforcement who lawfully have to use deadly force to defend themselves…I will also use the powers of the office I’ve been entrusted with to hold any officer responsible who violates the law. You know that all it takes is one bad officer to destroy the reputations of so many.”