Campaign Cash from Police Unions is Watering Down Efforts to Reform Police

“At every turn, police unions and law enforcement lobbying groups have staunchly opposed measures aimed at policing reform. They have been the first and loudest voices to defend the perpetrators of each new incident of police murder and brutality caught on camera – no matter how heinous.

Most recently, in California, unions called on Gov. Jerry Brown to veto a recently passed bill that aims to curb racial profiling by requiring police to report the race and other demographic features of any person stopped by an officer. Craig Lally, the president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, called the law “a joke,” while Lt. Steve James, who is president of the Long Beach Officers Association and the national trustee for the California Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), asserted that racial profiling does not exist, saying that police simply engage in “criminal profiling.”

But even as Democratic lawmakers introduce and pass bills seeking police reforms throughout the United States, national police unions and law enforcement lobbying groups like the FOP are contributing campaign cash to Democratic candidates this election cycle. Some of these candidates have embraced the mainstream rhetoric of “improving” and “rebuilding” police-community relations viewed as problematic by racial justice activists seeking a fundamentally different relation entirely.”

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