The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 70 representing Anne Arundel County, Maryland sent $1,000 to help with the legal fees of the officer who gunned down Michael Brown. Now some black officers are upset at their FOP leadership for sending the financial support.
The head of the Black Officers Association in the county, Cpl Kam Cooke, told CBC DC that he has spoken to at least 50 black officers who believe the donation was a mistake.
“At this time, it’s way too early to make that type of decision,” Cooke said.
Cooke sent a letter to FOP President O’Brien Atkinson asking that the donation be rescinded.
“I believe the intentions were noble, which I stated in the letter,” Cooke writes. “If we’re going to feed officers, I’m totally in agreement with that. I’m sure my coworkers on both sides of the table are totally in agreement with that. However, when the money is transitioned to supporting a legal defense fund, that’s when we probably when we need to draw that money back and perhaps get the feel of what the union wants to do before we just jump to make that donation.”
Cooke goes on to make the case that getting involved in such a high profile and divisive case at this time is not good for Anne Arundel officers.
“It’s very hυrtful,” Cooke says. “It’s an inflammatory situation right now, as you can see down in…Missouri. Ferguson. We don’t need that here. You know, we don’t need any of that to be brought up here. We do well with our communities. We’re in our communities. I know personally, I’m big on community policing and that is just not a topic that we need to be discussing here in Anne Arundel County.”
Cooke says although he’s spoken to black officers who are displeased with the donation, they’re not the only ones. He says there are white officers who wonder why their department involved itself in this controversy so soon.