Colorado police chief defends union president over comments

Image copyright Twitter Image caption The email was sent to officers who did not fit into the union’s image

The president of the Aurora, Colorado, police union has been suspended following an incident in which he criticised the “caucasian youth” in the community.

Terry Lawson was suspended for 45 days without pay after a formal complaint was made against him.

His email said these youths were “misplaced in our youth as they exhibit no interest, dedication or service to this area of town, state or our country”.

The union said the remarks were “extremely reckless and unacceptable”.

The email received more than 50 retweets and the text was shared on a local newspaper’s page called “Respect Matters”.

Aurora police chief Nick Metz apologised on behalf of the department after it was made public.

“With the email Mr Lawson sent to Aurora police officers last Friday, he not only crossed a line, he created a negative perception of our entire department that is completely undeserved,” he said.

‘Work to do’

Mr Lawson apologised for his comments.

“My comments were insensitive and they are not reflective of the ideals of the Aurora Police Department, nor the officers in this community,” he said.

“It is crystal clear that there is work to do, we need to continue to listen to our officers and their concerns.”

In his email, Mr Lawson refers to a conference in June in Colorado Springs where “our community was represented, meaning that we had one young male city police officer who actively pursued the youth”

He also commented on Aurora Police Department “criticisms and confrontations” including a shooting in August of a 13-year-old black boy by officers while he was sitting in a car.

“At the risk of being called racist, I think it is important that we allow our officers to provide positive interactions with the youth of Aurora,” he wrote.

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