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“A Conversation With Police on Race”

*Repost from The New York Times*

Over the past year or so, our nation has been embroiled in a difficult conversation about our history of police brutality and racial profiling. Stories of young black men shot by officers, and footage of police behavior before many of those deaths, have raised hard questions about institutional racism and misconduct within our police force. They have sparked protests, investigations and policy changes.

While our nation grapples with these issues, one voice is often conspicuously absent: that of the police themselves. Officers seem reluctant or unable to speak out about whether they perceive racism in their ranks.

As we set out to make the next installation of our Op-Doc video series about race in America, we are hoping to help break that silence. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was challenging to find individuals who were willing to speak on camera about their experiences with racism in the force. Ultimately, the former officers included in this film reflect a spectrum of opinions on this fraught topic, ranging from those who feel our nation’s police forces have only minimal issues with race, to those whose experiences have led them to adopt a more activist perspective. They speak for themselves and not for the forces they served. We hope viewers will listen to the officers’ perspectives and consider how we as a nation can help transform this institution so it serves and protects all Americans.

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