By Imad Hamad , AHRC Executive  Director,  Detroit News- July 19, 2016

(Photo: Curtis Compton / AP)

Defending the human rights of police officers”

The latest wave of police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota is another painful reminder of a crisis in policing. The police are tasked with protecting the public, but we are now witnessing attacks on the police.

The police find themselves, as one official noted, of having to be friendly and approachable while watching out for their own safety from certain members of the public.

We at the American Human Rights Council (AHRC) have always advocated for effective engagement and partnership between the police and their respective communities. Shooting of police officers — public servants who put their lives on the line to protect all of us — present clear evidence that something is seriously wrong and we need to move without delay to address the crisis.

The conversation about the police and communities has devolved into a conflict-ridden shouting match. What has not been emphasized is that everybody involved is a human being and should not be reduced to a specific role or function. A suspect is a human being and a police officer is also a human being. As human beings, they are entitled to human rights, foremost of which is the right to life. Human lives must be valued, saved, and protected. Demonizing a person or a group and dehumanizing them, wittingly or unwittingly, creates an environment where crimes such as the ones we witnessed in Dallas and Baton Rouge can happen.

We need to abandon the “us vs. them” frame. We all are humans and we are all entitled to human rights regardless of gender, faith, race, color, nationality, profession, and position. The recent alarming trend of targeting and shooting police officers, our brothers and sisters in humanity, is unequivocally condemned. The police force is not our enemy. All lives matter. Police are an integral part of civil society. Officers are our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters our fellow citizens and most importantly, our brothers and sisters in humanity.

Imad Hamad, executive director

American Human Rights Council

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