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Black Lives Never Get the Benefit of the Doubt

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A Message from The National Bar Association’s President
This month, like too many others, the lives of at least two members of the black community were taken by law enforcement.  Jemel Roberson was killed by police officers while he protected victims from criminals shooting into a Chicago bar where Mr. Roberson worked as a security guard.  Mr. Roberson carried a firearm as part of his job and shot, as part of his duties, an actual perpetrator endangering innocent people.  Mr. Roberson was nonetheless deemed a perpetrator instead of the hero he was.  Mr. Roberson, as a black man, did not get the benefit of the doubt.

Emantic Bradford was killed in an Alabama mall by security officers for being legally in possession of a fire arm with no intent to use it.  He was mistaken for a perpetrator who shot multiple people including a minor in a mall altercation.  His death appears to have been avoidable.  Mr. Bradford, a black man, did not get the benefit of the doubt.  What is clear is that the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms does not apply equally to all.  What is clear is that blacks do not get the benefit of the doubt by law enforcement and as a result lives are prematurely lost.  What is clear is that biases manifest themselves in moments of high intense pressure.  What is clear is we need change, we need action.

The National Bar Association will be pursuing the development and adoption of state and federal legislation aimed at deterring the reckless disregard for the lives of black men by law enforcement officers.  The NBA will be exploring other methods of deterrence.  The NBA will work with its affiliate chapters to raise awareness to legislative solutions that incentivize law enforcement officers to make decisions demonstrating an appreciation for the lives of all and the appropriate punitive measures to motivate a change in the assumptions and behavior that result in the tragic and avoidable deaths of innocent black lives.  The National Bar Association is to committed doing its part to change the culture and environment in which the lives of innocent blacks are cut short primarily due to unaddressed biases that manifest themselves in time of crisis.