African-American law enforcement discusses work after George Floyd’s death



BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (WBRC) – There was an outcry across the country over the death of George Floyd. Black officers now find themselves navigating between their personal and professional experiences – living in black skin and wearing the blue uniform.

“How can you just sit there and casually take someone’s life,” said Deputy Chief David Agee, of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

For 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the world watched the life of George Floyd slip away from under the knee of a police officer. And at the end of the music video came passionate calls to action against police brutality and racism, which resonate with black officers.

“I think we have to value the lives of black people,” Deputy Chief Agee said, “I’m a student of Dr. Martin Luther King, so I believe in protests. So to see young people stand up and be passionate about something that I like to see that.

Deputy Chief David Agee says he has enjoyed his law enforcement job for 34 years, but balances it with his life beyond the badge.

“When I take this uniform off, I’m still a black man. So I understand the anxiety that the black community is feeling, ”Deputy Chief Agee said.

The dichotomy of black and blue is not a unique experience.

“I, as a black man, could be in this situation. People will say, “You are an officer”. Not when I’m driving alone on the road, ”said Lt. Cortice Miles of the Bessemer Police Department.

Lt. Cortice Miles has worked for Bessemer PD for almost 22 years and says officers who navigate national unrest are tough – but don’t compromise work.

“There are times I tell guys – you have to flip that switch. You have to flip that switch and turn off those emotions and do the job that you are required to do, ”said Lt. Miles.

Officers say they see the need for more law enforcement training on racial bias, de-escalation and accountability, more diversity in departments, and more meaningful relationships between law enforcement forces. order and community.

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