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Police Union Plans To Bridge Gap Between Police, Black Community

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The Black Police Association of Greater Dallas said Wednesday night there's an "epidemic" of unarmed black men being killed.

A news release from the police union mentions this week's shooting of Terrence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma in particular.

In that case an unarmed black man had his hands in the air and not gun when a white police officer shot and killed him.

The Black Police Association of Greater Dallas said, "One side tells us remaining silent on this issue is necessary to survive in this profession, the other tells us to speak up loudly if we are to survive in our ethnic community."

The groups says officers, pastors and activists will reveal their plan to bridge the gap between police and the black community on Friday at 11:00 a.m. at their headquarters. 

Here is the complete statement released Wednesday night:

The members and leadership of the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas offer our prayers, condolences, and deepest sympathy to the family of Mr. Terrence Crutcher of Tulsa, Oklahoma. His death reminds us of the tremendous amount of work still necessary to bridge the gap (real and perceived) that exists between law enforcement and the black community. As an organization of professional police officers, predominantly black, it is our moral duty to do our part in preventing the needless death of anymore unarmed people of color; and yes, that moral duty does extend to all human life regardless of color, but there is an epidemic of unarmed black men being shot by police officers. It is so pervasive, if not checked it will soon rise to levels exceeded only by lynchings, and slavery.

We reference Dr. Martin Luther King in his eloquence directed to America, "We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality." It is time to jog our consciousness and stop this epidemic from spreading; we cannot continue to have innocent lives lost. We are at a pivotal moment in history, where we must take the opportunity to change policing forever. If we make the radical changes necessary, we as a nation survive. If we fail, it is conceivable, that similar to the biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, we start our descent to destruction as a nation.

As black police officers, we are expected to perform our duty at times when one would believe that we are forced to choose between two sides. One side tells us remaining silent on this issue is necessary to survive in this profession, the other tells us to speak up loudly if we are to survive in our ethnic community. As black officers we will choose the side of right and use all of our energy, time, expertise, and funds to render this epidemic officially over. Until it ends, nothing can shield one from the possibility of becoming a hash tag in the long list of senseless acts of this nature. Education, character, college degrees from prestigious institutions, walls of awards/citations, and talent won't shield one from the hash tag list.

Disrespect and verbal assaults hurled at social justice organizations like Black Lives Matter are not the answer. We should be inviting them to the table to reach solutions. Lawsuits that list defendants like our nation's leader President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, former Attorney General, Eric Holder, and more are not bridges across that gap, the gap widens. Violence is not the answer, trust building is a start. We lost friends and colleagues that were among the officers killed in Dallas. This senseless act of violence was not the answer, nor does the answer lie in the loss of life of the many unarmed black men, who we seem to awaken to on a morning basis all too often.   

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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